Past Events

Making Dystopia with Professor James Stevens Curl

Friday, May 10th
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Cosmos Club
2121 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008

The National Civic Art Society and ICAA-Mid-Atlantic cordially invite you to a lecture by distinguished architectural historian James Stevens Curl on Friday May 10 in Washington, D.C. Curl will speak about his new book Making Dystopia: The Strange Rise and Survival of Architectural Barbarism.

Curl will tell the story of the advent of architectural modernism in the aftermath of World War I, its protagonists, and its astonishing global acceptance after 1945. He will explain how the triumph of architectural Modernism in the second half of the 20th century led to massive destruction, the creation of alien urban landscapes, and a huge waste of resources. The coming of Modernism, however, was not inevitable.

According to Theodore Dalrymple’s review of Making Dystopia, “Professor Curl has written an essential, uncompromising, learned … critique of one of the worst and most significant legacies of the 20th century. … It is a loud and salutary clarion call to resist further architectural fascism.”

AIA CE credits are available for this lecture.

6:00 PM – Reception
7:00 PM – Lecture

Location: Cosmos Club – 2121 Massachusetts Avenue, NW

Cost: $15 for Members, $25 for Non-Members


Photo courtesy of Lara Platman

About the Speaker: Professor James Stevens Curl has been Visiting Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge, and is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London, and a Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland. In 2014, De Montfort University awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Arts in recognition of his “distinctive contribution… to the intellectual and cultural life of the nation and region.” His many publications include studies of Classical, Georgian, and Victorian architecture, and the most recent edition of his Oxford Dictionary of Architecture was published by Oxford University Press in 2015. In 2017 he was awarded the British Academy President’s Medal for “outstanding service to the cause of the humanities and social sciences” in his wider study of the History of Architecture in Britain and Ireland.

Social Sketching: Columns & Coffee at Mellon Auditorium

Saturday, June 15th
10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Mellon Auditorium
1301 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Columns & Coffee is a monthly social sketching excursion led by the L’Enfants, the emerging architects branch of the ICAA-WMA. Anyone with an interest in sketching and/or connecting with other artists and architects are encouraged to attend. This month we will be sketching at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. Designed by Arthur Brown Jr. and named for the prominent American industrialist and Treasury Secretary, this Neoclassical building links the buildings of the Federal Triangle area both physically and aesthetically. The Doric temple motif is used throughout the complex but is most prominent on the main portico, which is topped with magnificently-detailed metopes and a sculptural pediment. The building has been the site of many historically-significant events, including the official establishment of NATO in 1949.

Participants should be prepared to bring their own materials. We will meet at the Timgad Café in the lower level of the Woodrow Wilson Plaza (between the Ronald Reagan and Ariel Rios buildings) at 10:00am. We will be sketching for about 2.5-3 hours, but people are welcome to come and go as they please.

Cost: Free to all members

RSVP to Anthony DiManno

Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress/Historic American Building Survey

Social Sketching: Columns & Coffee at the Summerhouse

Saturday, July 13th
10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

West Front Lawn
U.S Capitol Building

Columns & Coffee is a monthly social sketching excursion led by the L’Enfants, the emerging architects branch of the ICAA-WMA. This month we will be sketching at the Summerhouse. Located in an area of the city known for monumental buildings and memorials, the Summerhouse is a small oasis of quiet and relaxation. This true hidden gem was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the late 1870s as a place to provide shade and water to Capitol visitors. Its red brick is a notable departure from other buildings on the Capitol Grounds and National Mall, but the material is used to great effect in its decorative niches and geometric patterns. Though often overlooked by the casual tourist, it still fulfills its original mission of providing fresh, filtered water to anyone passing by.

We will meet at the West Wing Café at D Street and New Jersey Avenue at 10:00am. We will be sketching for about 2.5-3 hours, but people are welcome to come and go as they please.

Cost: Free. RSVP is required.

RSVP to Anthony Dimanno

Photo Courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol

Decatur House: Exclusive Tour and Reception

Tuesday, July 16th
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Decatur House
748 Jackson Place, NW
Washington, DC 20006

Join the ICAA for a members-only exclusive tour and reception of the historic Decatur House, the National Center for White House History, on Tuesday, July 16th at 6pm.   Franck & Lohsen architects was selected to renovate the first-floor foyer, 2 parlors, the back stairwell, and the 2nd floor landing. Their mission was to restore the historic structure while updating the space for receptions and meetings. Antique furnishings and artifacts from the house were retained while historic pieces were pulled from National Trust storage.  Modern reproductions were selected as infill which would hold up to their high use. Franck & Lohsen recently received a 2019 John Russell Pope Award in the Historic Preservation category for their work on this project.

Cost: Free by RSVP for Members Only

RSVP Here – Contact Jay Fazio for the password

Photograph by Bruce White / Copyright White House Historical Association 

Brushes and Brunch: An Introduction to Ink Wash Rendering

Saturday, August 10th
9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Catholic University of America
School of Architecture + Planning
Crough Center for Architectural Studies
620 Michigan Ave. NE
Washington, DC 20064

This course introduces the techniques of Beaux-Arts wash rendering. Students will begin by learning the basic skills needed to produce a traditional ink wash rendering of a classical elevation. They will then develop an understanding of the qualities and characteristics of light, shade, shadow, and reflected light, as well as a sensibility for how architectural geometries, forms, planes, and profiles modulate light and shade and subsequently render form apparent. This course is designed to increase students’ command of the formal possibilities of space, mass, form, and profile.

Participants will be creating their own renderings to take home! There will be light brunch bites and beverages provided, as well as all of the necessary materials for the rendering.

Non-members: $65
Members: $45
L’Enfants: $25
Students: FREE with valid Student ID   


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