clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Unbuilt Washington Goes On A Road Tour

The National Building Museum's exhibit about plans for DC that were never built is taking root outside of the Museum in two locations so that the twenty thousand architects coming to town for the annual AIA meeting can take in the exhibit without descending upon the museum en masse. The full details are in the press release, but both exhibits run into the summer which is nice since the main exhibit at the museum ends on May 28th.

· National Building Museum [OfficialSite]
· Unbuilt Washington [Official Site]
· A Dolphin Hotel And Other Things You Will Never See In DC [CDC]

Photos from Library of Congress, National Galleries of History and Art, Jacobsen Architecture, James Allegro & Doug Michels, Edward Durell Stone Collection, Maryland Historical Society, National Archives, and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts.

UNBUILT: A Trio of Exhibitions Organized by the National Building Museum
On view when 20,000 architects come to Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The National Building Museum has organized a series of three exhibitions—presented in three different venues around Washington—on the theme of UNBUILT design work. These exhibitions explore the significance of unexecuted architectural and urban design projects both locally and around the world. All three exhibitions will be on view in mid-May, when more than 20,000 architects are expected to be in town for the 2012 national convention of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Exhibition #1

The cornerstone of this trio of exhibitions is Unbuilt Washington, which opened at the National Building Museum last November and will remain on view at the Museum, 401 F Street NW, through May 28, 2012. Unbuilt Washington presents unrealized projects throughout the city’s history, ranging from rejected designs for the U.S. Capitol to Frank Gehry’s proposal for the addition to the Corcoran Gallery of Art. It includes dozens of original drawings—some dating to the eighteenth century—as well as recent digital renderings and physical models. The exhibition suggests myriad alternative architectural histories for Washington, and reminds visitors that nothing in the built environment is inevitable. For opening hours, call 202-272-2448 or visit

Exhibition #2

Unbuilt?Built: The Influence of the Progressive Architecture Awards will be on view at the American Institute of Architects headquarters, 1735 New York Avenue, NW, from May 14 through August 31, 2012. Launched in 1953 by Progressive Architecture (P/A) magazine and now administered by ARCHITECT magazine, the annual P/A Awards have long been regarded as bellwethers of emerging trends in design theory and practice worldwide. The program has advanced the careers of talented young designers, provided impetus for the realization of daring projects, and altered the course of architectural debate. This exhibition presents 25 past P/A Award winners—all of them subsequently built—that proved particularly influential. For opening hours, call 202-626-7300 or visit

Exhibition #3

Could Be: The AIA|DC Awards for Unbuilt Architecture will be on view at the District Architecture Center, 421 7th Street, NW, from May 3 through June 30, 2012. In 2009, in the midst of the global economic crisis that brought many building projects to a halt, the Washington Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|DC) created a new awards program to recognize outstanding unbuilt projects by local design professionals and students. This exhibition presents winners from the first four years of the program, including both purely theoretical proposals and unexecuted commissioned projects that reflect the breadth and depth of Washington architects’ work. For opening hours, call 202-347-9403 or visit

National Building Museum

401 F Street Northwest, , DC 20001 (202) 272-2448 Visit Website