Washington D.C.
Original Construction
Construction Cost
130,000 square feet
Project Completion Date


The American Institute of Architects, AIA, is headquartered on a historic campus in Washington D.C. which showcases the diverse possibilities in architectural historic preservation. 

The site is anchored by the Octagon House.  Built in 1801, the Octagon House was a young building when the Treaty of Ghent was signed there in 1814, ending the War of 1812.  In 1889 the AIA took residence and in 1902 it was the first American building to be the focus of a major preservation effort in which “the architectural importance was paramount”  (George McCue, The Octagon, American Institute of Architects, Washington D. C., 1976, page 73.)   

The Modern AIA Headquarters building, built adjacent to the Octagon House in 1973, respectfully embraces the venerable house and its gardens.  Unfortunately, by 2007 the headquarters building no longer met the AIA’s needs.  In a classic example of transforming a problem into an opportunity, the AIA decided to showcase its home as a best practices project in three ways.  Project objectives were first to retrofit the Modernist building for sustainability, then to update work place technology and functionality, and finally to preserve the historic integrity of the building so that it would be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

HopkinsBurns Design studio was the Historic Preservation consultant of the Studios Architecture team that was commissioned for this multifaceted and innovative project.  As such, HopkinsBurns created a Cultural Landscape and Historic Structure Report and an Existing Conditions Evaluation of the Headquarters.  These reports guided the AIA Headquarters renovation design, ensuring that the building would be efficient and functional into the 21st century while respecting and retaining its Modernist heritage.