Architecture is the art that surrounds us, creating scenes, setting moods, and telling stories. At its core, the physical world is defined by architecture—structures for living, work. and leisure. But architecture is more than shelter and the organization of space. The built environment provides order to our everyday lives, and it can provoke intense feelings from disgust to delight. When we engage with architecture around us, we share a common experience and encounter sensations that shape our understanding of human society and culture.

Architecture Everywhere is a monthly series exploring how architecture comes to life in unexpected ways through other arts and humanities disciplines. Join us each month as we focus on a new theme or topic. Guest speakers present a visual talk, followed by creative exchange with the audience.

Architecture Everywhere is organized by the Washington Architectural Foundation for 2021.

Previous Events:

Architecture and Language
October 26, 2021
Watch the recording here.

Surprisingly, a building and a language share revealing commonalities. In architecture, well-built and flexibly designed buildings can be revitalized to meet new needs over time. In language, existing words may take on new meaning and new words may enter the lexicon with cultural transformations. Each seemingly disparate subject is rooted in a set of basic rules and conventions, and each evolves with the changing times. In this presentation, Ann Friedman and Rebecca Roberts talk about this unexpected connection while sharing insights into the renovation of the historic Franklin School as an immersive language experience.

On Architecture, Oral History, and Memory
September 30, 2021
Watch the recording here.

To understand the evolution of the city, we can investigate the past through objective findings—photographs, measured drawings, and written histories of historic structures and sites. Many of our public buildings and spaces in Washington, DC have been documented and still shape the city we know and love today. But what of those buildings or spaces that no longer exist? Their creators and occupants? What about the city’s inhabitants and their personal stories or experiences? In this presentation, Emily Eig will explore the unique connections between architecture, oral history, and memory as it pertains to the changing face of our nation’s capital.

Architecture on the Stage
August 26, 2021
Watch the recording here.

The art of scenic design thrives on imagination, creativity, and collaboration. In theatre, stories come to life when their sets are designed in effective and memorable ways. In this presentation, New York City-based scenic designer Beowulf Boritt will share the ins-and-outs of designing sets for theatrical plays and musicals, and reveal how architecture translates scripts into performative environments that impact the audience experience.

Illustrating Architecture
July 29, 2021
Watch the recording here.

For hundreds of years, artists have illustrated architecture as a form of visual communication using the power of drawing to express their surroundings. Everything from ornamental details and household furniture to building façades and city skylines have been recorded with only a writing instrument and surface. In this presentation, internationally renowned illustrator James Gulliver Hancock will share with us his whimsical drawing style and describe why architecture is the perfect subject to reimagine on paper.

Coast to Coast: Carol Highsmith's America
June 30, 2021
Watch the recording here.

Join us for a photographic journey across the United States with Carol Highsmith, America’s Photographer. In her career spanning more than 40 years, Highsmith has captured countless details in all 50 states, including historic landmarks, landscapes, and scenes of everyday life. In this presentation, she will share her architectural impressions of the American landscape: coastal communities of New England, plantations in the deep South, prairie houses of the Mid-West, ghost towns along the Rockies, and more. Along the way, she will complement photographs with memorable stories experienced on her extraordinary journeys.

Architecture in Dutch Art
April 29, 2021
Watch the recording here.

In this illustrated presentation, historian and Dutch native Henriette Rahusen will explore the historical context of the noteworthy presence of architecture in Dutch art. Drawing on her 13-year experience as researcher in the curatorial department of Dutch and Flemish old master paintings at the National Gallery of Art, Rahusen will use paintings, drawings, prints, cartography and old city descriptions to show how the built world influenced artistic expression. While acknowledging the role of architecture in the art of later centuries, Rahusen will primarily focus on the ways in which Dutch artists of the 17th century incorporated architecture in their work, and how it led to the visual concept of “Dutch Realism.” 

Architecture and Edith Wharton's Novels
March 25, 2021
Watch the recording here.

Edith Wharton, one of America’s most distinguished writers, explained: "The impression produced by a landscape, a street or a house should always to the novelist, be an event in the history of a soul."  People, as she explains, are products of their environment and the buildings they inhabit—whether small and humble or luxurious mansions with grand interiors—play an important part in an individual’s life. For Wharton, buildings are not just backdrop, but actors. This presentation will look at her novels House of Mirth and Summer, as well as her other writings, including The Decoration of Houses and Italian Villas and Their Gardens

Participants are encouraged—not required—to read, in part or in whole, any of these works to grasp the writer’s style prior to the event.

Talking with Architecture
February 25, 2021
Watch the recording here.

Architecture is already exhibition. To put architecture on display, then, is to make it talk. Architecture exhibitions translate the built environment into other forms of communication. They make legible architecture’s influences and motivations and reveal its ambitions and speculations. They are an extension of the work of architecture into other territories.

In Talking with Architecture, Andrea Dietz will give a brief history and overview of the paradoxical practice of exhibiting architecture and will present the display of architecture as a platform for advancing and challenging the discipline.