Volume 1, No. 12 - October 2, 2007
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BLAST - News and Notes from AIA Northern Virginia

Kerns Group Architects
Washington Hebrew Congregation, by Kerns Group Architects (more info)
The Advocacy Issue

Critical Issues for 2008

Architect of the Capitol

Getting Involved

Why Light the Night

Featured Project:
  Washington Hebrew Congregation


Visit the AIA Northern Virginia Website

Help the AIA Define Critical Advocacy Issues for 2008
by Debbie Burns

The AIA Government Affairs Department is seeking members’ input in defining the most important advocacy issues to address in 2008. Your input is needed by October 8, 2007, as the Institute prepares the legislative agenda for 2008.

In 2007, AIA advocacy efforts have made significant progress on top priorities, from sustainable design to tax relief. With the support of our 80,000 members, the AIA can remain a credible voice before all levels of government.

Please identify up to three issue areas you believe the AIA should consider including in its 2008 advocacy agenda. To assist us in the issue development process, please include the following information for each issue if applicable:
  • How the issue would affect the profession, the built environment, or the public.
  • Who might be an issue expert and AIA member that may be able to assist the Government Advocacy staff in developing legislation, issue papers, or testimony?
  • If you are a member of component or knowledge group leadership, how you and other members of the AIA can best assist in the grassroots lobbying of these issues and what role you would be willing to play in making congressional contacts and advocating the issue.
The Government Affairs Department will match proposed issues to legislative and regulatory opportunities at the federal, state and local levels for action next year and then submit a draft issues agenda to the Board Advocacy Committee and AIA Board this fall.

Submit your recommendations to Adam Melis at amelis@aia.org by October 8. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact Adam at (202) 626-7383.

Lawmakers Voice Support for an Architect as Architect of the Capitol
reprinted from The Angle with permission

Members of Congress from both parties are adding their voices to the list of people who believe that the next Architect of the Capitol should be an architect. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Phil English (R-PA) have drafted a letter to President Bush, urging him to nominate an architect as the next Architect of the Capitol. Noting that some on Capitol Hill have suggested that the next Architect of the Capitol should be a facilities manager, Reps. Blumenauer and English write, "We agree that extensive management experience is a vital and necessary qualification for the job. However, given the position's unique role as steward and guardian of the Capitol, and because of the major design and renovation challenges that the Architect of the Capitol will face over the next decade, we believe that the training and experience of a professional architect is just as necessary."

Andrew Goldberg, Assoc. AIA, senior director of federal affairs says, "We commend Congressmen Blumenauer and English for their leadership on this issue. As members of Congress who work in the Capitol complex and whose constituents visit Capitol Hill, they know better than anyone why the steward of this great campus must be someone with the skills and background of an architect."

Reps. Blumenauer and English are working to secure the signatures of other members of Congress to their letter. The AIA urges its members to contact their representatives to ask them to sign onto the Blumenauer-English letter.

To contact your member of Congress, click here.

AIA Political Issues: Learn More + Get Involved
by Valerie Hassett, AIA LEED® AP

The AIA represents the interests of architects before federal, state, and local governments. Through active involvement in the legislative process the AIA can advocate on issues that are important to Architects. A strong voice is needed on a wide range of issues from community design to transportation planning, energy consumption to education and historic preservation, building codes to green building standards and public procurement to continuing education. For information on AIA federal issues link here. For information on Virginia legislative activities link here.

Additionally, within the state of Virginia the AIA has developed the Citizen Architect program which advocates for architects to serve their communities though active participation on governmental and community boards. For more information about the Citizen Architect program, contact VSAIA Director of Government & Industry Affairs Duncan Abernathy at daber@aiava.org

Finally, the AIA encourages all members to become actively involved in the political process. The AIA has set up an easy way for you to register to vote at www.architectsvote.com.

Architects + Designers Light the Night Backstory
by Eliza Beth Engle, AIA, LEED® AP, Geier Brown Renfrow Architects
I wanted to share the story of why we do fundraising for the Leukemia + Lymphoma Society in our office. Back in 2003 my boss’s son Grady, who was a Penn State freshman and a varsity soccer player, was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia. Our office manager’s nephew Jeffery was 8 years old when he lost his battle with Lymphoma. Her sister, Julie, is in remission from Hodgskin’s disease. Andrea Baker, the wife of a close friend of our office, is battling multiple myeloma. You can see that blood cancers have touched our office. This is why we have participated in the Leukemia + Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night walk for the past three years to raise funds for lifesaving cancer research that has contributed to major advances in the treatment of blood cancers and many other types of cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and stem cell transplants that have prolonged and enhanced the lives of patients.

Last year we decided to increase awareness about blood cancers with those we knew best, other architects, and the ‘Architects Light the Night’ Wine Tasting Fundraiser was started. This year we decided to widen the net and the name was changed to ‘Architects + Designers Light the Night’. We work very hard at this event to raise needed funds for blood cancer research and patient education. Please join us in our effort to have an impact on all those that suffer from blood cancers. The walk’s website is www.lightthenight.org and there are 5 walks in the National Capital Area that you can participate in. If you aren’t interested in the walk but would like to help out the cause by attending a fun evening, go to http://www.active.com/donate/ltnalexan/adltn and donate a minimum of $30. The event is at the Haworth Showroom across from the Gallery Place Metro on the evening of Oct. 3rd from 6:00-8:30p.


  • Every five minutes someone is diagnosed with blood cancer. Every ten minutes, someone dies.
  • Leukemia causes more deaths among children than any other cancer
  • More than 20,000 Americans died from lymphoma in 2006
  • The survival rate for myeloma is just 33 per cent
I am happy to report that Grady is in remission from his leukemia and is once again playing soccer for Penn State University. Your participation makes a difference.

Featured Project

Washington Hebrew Congregation
Washington, DC
Kerns Group Architects

The contemporary style of the existing art and architecture of Washington Hebrew Congregation’s facility guided the design of its renovation and addition. Based on the existing language of repetitive forms, Kerns Group Architects was able to create a distinct yet homogenous addition, all while adding badly needed space for the congregation.

The focus of the project was updating and enlarging the Social Hall to accommodate large gatherings at milestone life-cycle events and celebrations. Special finishes were used to add texture, movement and color to the hall, including an oak dance floor inset with a Star of David surrounded by custom carpeting, 3 ceiling domes with recessed lighting and custom chandeliers, and large, angular, overlapping wood veneer wall panes on three of the room’s four walls. The project involved demolishing a portion of the existing facility and reconstruction within the same footprint in a more efficient and striking design, all completed in 2006 while the facility remained open for daily use.

photographs by Michael Dersin Photography


October 3 - Architects + Designers Light the Night
6:00 - 8:00p, at the Haworth Showroom, 575 7th Street NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC. Join colleagues in an evening of great wines and tasty hors d’oeurves to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. There will be a silent auction with several items specifically selected for Architects + Designers. The evening is hosted by Geier Brown Renfrow Architects. Minimum donation of $30. For information and reservations, visit www.active.com/donate/ltnAlexan/adltn or contact Eliza Engle at (703) 836-9775. Reservations need to be made by September 28th.

October 6 - Tour of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Distillery
10:00 - 11:00a, sponsored by AIA Northern Virginia’s Women in Architecture and Historic Resources committees. After a two-year reconstruction effort, George Washington’s 1798 whiskey distillery opened to the public in March 2007. Besides interpreting Washington’s distilling operation, the project needed to meet several other criteria, including complying with current code and zoning requirements, providing access for disabled persons, accommodating interpretive facilities, and meeting local architectural and historic preservation guidelines. It features 5 working stills, a flume bringing water to the distillery from the nearby mill race, and interpretive displays. Tour presented by Katie Slattery and James Thompson of Quinn Evans|Architects. 1 AIA/CES LU. $10; requires pre-payment/registration to the chapter. Contact the Chapter House at (703) 549-9747 or reservations@aianova.org.

October 9 - AIA Northern Virginia Board Meeting
4:30p-6:00p, at the Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria. For additional information, contact the Chapter House at aianova@aianova.org.

October 11 - Troubleshooting the Building Envelope: Problem Solving and Problem Prevention
9:30a - 4:00p, at the Beatley Library, 5005 Duke Street, Alexandria. The workshop will provide information on preventing moisture intrusion and vapor transmission in the building envelope, and will cover causes and solutions for water and vapor transmission in concrete slabs, critical roofing details to prevent moisture intrusion, sealants and adhesives for prevention of air and water infiltration, and sealers and water repellents for protection of concrete surfaces. 5 AIA/CES HSW LUs. Members $80; nonmembers $95. Prepaid registration required. For more information visit the Chapter website or look for the insert in the upcoming newsletter.

October 14 - Lighting: Get the L.E.D. Out and LEED® the Way
Presented by the AIA Northern Virginia Women in Architecture Committee at the NeoCon East Conference in Baltimore. There are many new lighting technologies on the market from LED lights to the latest in energy efficient lighting. This presentation will help you ‘weed’ out the proper ‘green’ fixtures for your sustainable projects and also teach you about the latest lighting trends for residential and commercial lighting. Speakers include Dan Zuczek, LC, IESNA, LEED® AP, Lighting Representative, Ambiance Lighting and Eliza Beth Engle, AIA, LEED® AP, Architect, Geier Brown Renfrow Architects.

1 AIA HSW LU. $20; registration required. To register for this presentation go to http://www.merchandisemart.com/neoconeast/ Click on 'click here to register,' click on 'Seminar Registration,' click on 'Associated Forums' on the left column and scroll down to [AF9] and add it to your registration. While attending the presentation you can visit the trade show free of charge. For questions, contact the chapter house at (703) 549-9747 or aianova@aianova.org.

October 16 - Building Information Modeling (BIM)
At the Lyceum, 201 South Washington Street, Alexandria. Organized by the Washington Alexandria Architecture Consortium (WAAC) and the AIA Northern Virginia Chapter. Presentation will define BIM, provide an overview of BIM software, discuss business issues prompting industry change, consider design and business benefits of BIM, look at integrated project delivery, discuss implementation strategies of incorporating BIM into practice, consider the potential of BIM, and provide a technical demonstration of the software. Presented by Ben Whitcomb and Randy Boynes with Microdesk. 2 AIA/CES LUs. $10 AIA members; $15 nonmembers. Free for students and associate AIA members. Prepaid registration required. For additional information, contact the Chapter at (703) 549-9747 or reservations@aianova.org.

October 17 - AIA Northern Virginia Lunch Series - Beyond Repair: Historic Window Replacement
Noon-1:00p, at the Chapter House, 205 South Patrick Street, Alexandria. This program examines fenestration issues inherent in historic building projects. Because seemingly minor changes in window configuration can have surprisingly major – and adverse – effects on the overall appearance of a building, most historic district design guidelines pay special attention to windows. Window evaluation and preservation methods are reviewed. Rehabilitation planning and window specification for historic applications are addressed. Commercial and residential case studies are included to illustrate successful replacement solutions for windows in historic buildings. Presented by Marc Held, Marvin Windows/LightStyles. 1 AIA/CES HSW LU. Free; lunch provided. Registration required; e-mail reservations@aianova.org.

October 19 - Tour of the New Nationals Ballpark
2:00-3:00p, organized by the AIA Northern Virginia Women in Architecture Committee. The Washington Nationals are getting a new home on the Anacostia waterfront in Southeast DC. The project is a joint venture with HOK Sport and the local architectural firm of Devrouax-Purnell Architects. The construction is being done through a group of contractors comprised of Clark/Hunt/Smoot. The scheduled completion date is April 2008. According to the Nats relocation guide, the new ballpark will have a distinctive DC flavor, including cherry blossoms, an “Oval Office” bar, and breathtaking views of the Capitol.

1 AIA/CES HSW LU. $10; requires pre-payment/registration. The tour is limited to 20 people. To register, contact the Chapter at (703) 549-9747 or reservations@aianova.org. Payment is also available online at www.aianova.org.

October 23 - AIA Northern Virginia Annual Chapter Dinner and Honors Celebration
6:30p, At the Mount Vernon Inn on George Washington’s Estate. Please join your colleagues for an enjoyable evening at the Mount Vernon Inn. The festivities include hors d’oeuvres on the veranda, dinner in the George Washington Dining Room, presentation of our Chapter’s Honor Awards and the election of Chapter officers and directors for 2008. Come early and visit Mount Vernon. Admission cost is $13.00. Tour the mansion and see the estate’s two new facilities, the Ford Orientation Center and the Donald W. Reynolds Museum and Education Center. Invitations will be mailed shortly. For more information call (703) 549-9747 or email aianova@aianova.org. For complete information, please visit the Chatper website.