Out of the Federal Shadow: Rethinking DC Architecture

To mark the publication of the 6th edition of the AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, DC, author G. Martin Moeller, Jr., Assoc. AIA, will discuss the evolution of the guide—and its representation of DC architecture—since the release of the first edition in 1965. Focusing on new entries added for the latest edition, he will argue for greater awareness of DC’s distinct, truly local architectural character, long overshadowed by the federal buildings and national memorials that are the inevitable focus of tourist guidebooks and websites.


Learning Objectives:

  • Explain the evolution of DC architecture over the past 60 years
  • Identify significant buildings that illustrate changes in the city’s architectural character over the past 60 years
  • Describe key municipal governmental initiatives that have yielded notable architectural projects
  • Identify older DC buildings whose importance had been forgotten or overlooked until recently

Presented by:

Martin Moeller—Independent Curator, Writer, and Editor

Mr. Moeller is the author of the three most recent editions of the AIA Guide to the Architecture of Washington, DC (2022, 2012, and 2006). Formerly executive vice president and later senior vice president and senior curator at the National Building Museum, he is now an independent curator, writer, editor, and educator. He holds a Master of Architecture from Tulane University and was twice a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome.


Image Credits

1/5. Square 37/Squash on Fire Building: Photo © Alan Karchmer/OTTO
2/5. Atlantic Plumbing Apartments: Photo © Alan Karchmer/OTTO
3/5. DC Water Headquarters: Photo © Alan Karchmer/OTTO
4/5. National Museum of African American History and Culture, with the Washington Monument in the background: Photo courtesy NMAAHC/Alan Karchmer
5/5. UDC Student Center: Photo © Sam Kittner