Aerial view of AIA's Headquarters

AIA Headquarters renewal

The AIA Headquarters renewal is a once-in-a-generation project that addresses the urgent need for climate action and will dramatically transform the user experience for staff, members, and visitors.

This renewal leverages forward-looking design to enhance and foster the AIA’s connection to the community, serve as a model of stewardship and sustainability for the public and profession, and create a flexible and collaborative work environment that embodies AIA’s mission and values.

AIA is undertaking a substantial renewal of its headquarters on New York Avenue in Washington, D.C. Led by San Francisco-based architecture firm EHDD, with Hood Design Studio, Hartman-Cox Architects, and Point Energy Innovations as consultants, and Turner Construction overseeing construction management, the renovation seeks to restore and upgrade the 50-year-old building and its original, antiquated systems to maximize cost-effective energy efficiency and to decarbonize the campus in accordance with the goals of the AIA 2030 Commitment.

This is the first significant renovation since AIA headquarters was dedicated in 1973. The iconic Washington, D.C., building is well known for its Brutalist style, courtyard and garden, and the adjacent National Historic Landmark, the Octagon building. Designed to embody AIA’s core values of sustainability, resilience, and equity, the renewal—which is expected to break ground this year—will offer spaces and amenities to welcome both AIA members and the local community to engage with the campus in new ways.

Watch our video about the project:

See a fly-through of the schematic design:

A Framework for Design Excellence approach

The campus renewal follows AIA’s Framework for Design Excellence, which seeks to inform progress toward a zero-carbon, equitable, resilient, and healthy built environment. The design electrifies all building systems, while incorporating on and offsite renewable energy to fully decarbonize the campus. A suite of amenities—including drop-in coworking space, meeting facilities, and VR/media lounges—will be available to members and staff alike in this new model for an energy-efficient, adaptable, post-COVID, workplace and gathering space. Read more about the design here.

Creating an educational opportunity with HBCUs

AIA offered architecture students internships during the design phase of the headquarters renewal. Six students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) participated in the design process through a series of virtual workshops that took place between April and August 2021. The students were able to virtually collaborate with the design team to help to envision a sustainable, post-COVID workplace of the future.

The internships provided AIA and the design team with new, creative, and innovative ideas for the renewal project, while exposing the students to a real-world sustainable project led by licensed architects and informed by clients, contractors, other students, and much more.

More about AIA's internship program with HBCUs >

AIA’s internship program is an example other firms can emulate, with the goal of improving diversity in the profession through increased engagement, broader network support, and access to employment opportunities for future architecture graduates.

Career and the profession

AIA’s HBCU Internship program: Future architects help design AIA’s future

To help develop a sustainable, equitable, inclusive design plan, AIA welcomed six students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to serve as interns for the project. Virtually embedded with the design team from April through August 2021, these students are gaining real-world experience while offering invaluable insights into designing a post-COVID workplace of the future.

Additional building renewal resources

Learn more about the headquarters renewal project as it continues to develop.

Building renewal FAQs

This is the first renovation since AIA headquarters was dedicated in 1973. Although functional, most of the building’s major systems are original. In addition, single-pane windows and lack of exterior wall insulation make the building inefficient. Renovating 1735 New York Avenue provides an opportunity for AIA to demonstrate the power of positive design solutions.

AIA headquarters renewal aims to model sustainability, equity, and innovation

The leadership of architects is critical in demonstrating the power of design to address society’s most pressing challenges, from climate action to racial and social justice to the pandemic.

Art, history, and religion

Brutalism and the AIA’s headquarters

Brutalism is an architectural style characterized by rigid geometry, heavy massing, and its chief material, poured concrete. It is an expression of Modern architecture in the 20th century that privileges function and form equally, and Brutalism has also become an expression—or perhaps a symptom—of post-World War II urban renewal in England, France, Belgium, Japan, and the United States. As a term, it was coined by the architects Alison and Peter Smithson as what they called a design "ethic" (rather than an aesthetic) to functional and inexpensive housing in the 1950s, but it was popularized by the architecture critic Reyner Banham as "New Brutalism." Semantics aside, Banham identified three characteristics of what he saw as an architectural movement: a clearly articulated structure, a preference for raw and unfinished concrete with evidence of its wooden formwork, and a memorable and recognizable overall form of the building. The name Brutalism, itself, is an anglicization of béton brut, or raw concrete, used by Le Corbusier to describe his own 1952 apartment project Unité d'Habitation in Marseilles, France.

Building science and technology

Decarbonization and the AIA 2030 Commitment: The AIA HQ Approach

AIA’s HQ Renewal will operationalize the Climate Action Plan with a project that meets the 2030 Commitment target five years ahead of schedule.

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