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What to Look Forward to During Architecture Week

From a museum tour to an exclusive lecture

Starting April 7, the Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA|DC) will host a week-long celebration of architecture in the nation's capital. Architecture Week, running through April 16, will feature book readings, family-friendly activities, and over 15 tours of museums, libraries, and other buildings in the District.

There are roughly 30 events planned, so to help the public know what to get excited for, here is a list of the five activities that Curbed is most excited for.

1. Learn how to sketch

April 7 at 6:30 p.m.

421 7th Street NW

This event, called "Sip & Sketch with Moleskine," is perfect for those of all skill levels to network, learn, and enjoy some refreshments. At the District Architecture Center, visitors will enjoy sketching lessons throughout the evening, led by Catholic University of America Associate Professor Eric Jenkins, Catholic University of America Associate Professor Julio Bermudez, and University of Maryland Associate Professor Hooman Koliji.

For those with their Moleskines in hand, Sarah Larson from Distinctive Bookbinding & Leather Designs, Inc. will offer complimentary personalized book stamping and binding. Meanwhile, local artist Remi Jeffrey-Coker will complete a live painting/color pencil drawing. If guests don't have a Moleskine of their own, no worries. The notebook company will host a curated pop-up shop with a 20 percent discount to attendees.

If unable to attend this event, the public will still be able to sketch alongside their peers on Saturday, April 16, while D.C.-based architecture firm Beyer Blinder Belle Architects presents the restoration of the historic D.C. Courthouse. This event will occur at the District Architecture Center between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. with drawing materials provided.

2. Bring your children on a walking tour

April 9 at 10 a.m.

421 7th Street NW

Don't just walk through Penn Quarter. Understand what it has to offer. With this tour, architect Mary Kay Lanzillotta will teach parents and their children terms like keystone and cornice. For extra fun, children will also be able to create their own building out of cardboard after the tour to take home. The admission fee for each child is $5.

3. Discover the National Museum of African American History and Culture

April 9 at 12:30 p.m.

600 Maryland Avenue SW

The NMAAHC won't open for another few months, so grab this chance while you still can. This museum, Smithsonian's newest, will house over 33,000 artifacts, documenting African American art, history, and culture. On this tour, the AIA|DC will focus on the building's design and construction.

Be sure to wear some comfortable shoes as the 400,000-square-foot structure spans five acres.

Other museums that will be offering tours throughout the week include the Hirshhorn Museum, Kreeger Museum, and the Renwick Gallery.

4. Get an exclusive lecture with an award-winning journalist

April 11 at 6:30 p.m.

421 7th Street NW

In this lecture, Kriston Capps will speak on how every building tells a different story about a city..

Capps has analyzed everything from how the federal government plans to stop the "worst-case" housing crisis to modern art to quirky architecture in publications like CityLab and Washington City Paper. He was also the inaugural award winner of AIA|DC's Sarah Booth Conroy Prize for Journalism and Architectural Criticism, which awarded him for raising awareness of and critically analyzing architecture in Washington, D.C.

5. Discover atomic architecture

April 12 at 12 p.m.

421 7th Street NW

With this lecture, the public will be able to explore the atomic age and how it influenced the creativity of architects and designers like James Langenheim, William Pereira, and John Lautner. Participants will learn what breakthroughs occurred between 1945 and 1965 and which mid-century designers still influence today's architects.

This is the first part of a three-part series. The second part will discuss architecture from 1965 to 1985, and the third part will explore architecture from 1985 to 2005.

Architecture Week [AIA|DC]