Washington DC is full of historic buildings. Many of these buildings have been preserved and revitalized for a new generation. Architects in the DC metro area are especially sensitive to restoration, as well as sustainability and creative additions to the landscape. The height of the city is limited, as dictated initially by laws inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s goal to make DC the “American Paris.” Thus, if builders are looking for fewer height restrictions, they usually go directly across the Potomac River to Virginia. Since DC is such a major city, many of the firms on this list are global. All of them, however, have put their unique stamp on the city through their designs and have worked for some well-known clientele.

Top Architects


Paul S. Devrouax
Marshall Purnell

AIA/DC Merit for Sustainability

400 7th Street, NW, Suite 204, Washington, DC 20004

About dp+partners

Paul S. Devrouax founded his first firm Devrouax and Associated in 1973, and he soon partnered with Marshall Purnell. Since then, the firm dp+partners has grown to work on projects all over the country. Their commitment to sustainable design can be seen in all of their projects, especially in the DC area. Both Devrouax and Purnell have been inducted as fellows of the American Institute of Architects. In 2006, Purnell was elected president of the National American Institute of Architects. By designing the Freddie Mac headquarters, they became the first African Americans to design a Fortune 500 company headquarters.

Featured Projects

While dp+partners is a smaller firm than some of the others on this list, they have worked on massive projects in DC. They provided the designs for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver-certified Washington Nationals Baseball Stadium, which garnered them an AIA/DC Merit for Sustainability in 2008. The ballpark was built on track and on budget in 23 months. Dp+partners also built the $182M Verizon Center, which included state-of-the-art space for athletic events, live events, and office space. The design included a technologically advanced arena for NBA/WNBA Basketball, NHL Hockey, and other events, such as the circus. There is also 20k square feet of office space for the owner, restaurants, retail, and a sports museum, plus parking on two levels and underground connection to the Metro.

Hickok Cole

Michael Hickok
Yolanda Cole

NAIOP MD/DC Award of Merit,
Shaw Contract Group Design Is… Award,
IIDA Mid-Atlantic Silver Award

1023 31st Street, NW Washington, DC 20007

About Hickok Cole

Since its founding, Hickok Cole has designed over 60M square feet of commercial and residential space. Founder and senior principal of the firm, Michael Hickok is known for his expertise in commercial space. he has extensive experience working with many local district approval agencies, such as the Historic Preservation Review Board, the Office of Planning, and the Commission of Fine Arts. He earned his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Pennsylvania and his Master of Architecture from Harvard University. Yolanda Cole is the other senior principal and merged her firm with Hickok Cole in 2003. Her high-rise building design skill is evident through her work on the high-profile Chifley Tower in Sydney, Australia. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Ohio State University and her Master of Architecture from Columbia University.

Featured Projects

Hickok Cole is currently developing a redesign of the International Spy Museum. At 800 F Street NW in L’Enfant Plaza, this landmark museum houses the largest number of artifacts from espionage across the globe. The new museum will boast 140k square feet and double its floor space, making room for a multi-use lecture hall and theater, as well as a multifunction event space. With its soaring height, it will provide breathtaking views of the city. The first phase of construction is currently underway for Hickok Cole’s work on the American Geophysical Union, which involved complex preservation issues. Their work on the Democratic National Committee Headquarters earned them a NAIOP MD/DC Award of Merit, Best Urban Renovation in 2006. Hickok Cole’s design work for NPR’s headquarters won them the Shaw Contract Group Design Is… Award for Large Office and the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Mid-Atlantic Silver Award for Interior Architecture, Educational and Institutional.

DCS Design

Douglas Carter

AIA Walter Taylor Award,
AASA Award,
National Energy Conservation/Owens-Corning National Award,
Northern Virginia AIA Award of Honor

8614 Westwood Center Drive, Suite 800, Tysons, VA 22182

About DCS Design

DCS Design calls itself one of the largest locally owned architectural and interior architectural firms in the DC metropolitan area. It was just named one of the Top 50 “Rising 100 Giants” by Interior Design Magazine in 2017. They offer a variety of services and have plentiful experience in the commercial arena. A founding principal of DCS, Douglas Carter has over 40 years of experience designing projects for Fortune 500 companies and educational and commercial clients. Under his leadership at DCS, the firm won over 90 awards. Some of those were the Walter Taylor American Institute of Architects (AIA) and AASA Award and the National Energy Conservation/Owens-Corning National Award. Carter received the Northern Virginia AIA Award of Honor in 1998. The firm is also committed to sustainability and hosts a yearly sustainability summit in DC.

Featured Projects

One of their featured projects is their LEED Gold-certified design for the 55 M Street SW project. DCS constructed a flexible office space built over an existing and operative transit station. A nod to the transportation landmark is incorporated into the design by a 55-foot cantilever over the entrance. The space itself is 350k square feet, with an 85k-square-foot garage below grade. Close to the Washington Nationals Stadium, the space is integral to the Half Street Development. Another notable design is the 635k-square-foot Human Genome Sciences building in Maryland, which boasts an atrium with a human cell garden. The undulating reflective glass on the exterior was chosen to reflect the creative energy coming from within the building. Special attention was paid to conceal the ventilation systems and hoods from the biotech laboratories.

GTM Architects

Richard Conrath
David Konapelsky
Jeff Whitman

FRED Modern Masterpiece Award
Frederick County Landmarks Foundation Historic Preservation Award
NAIOP Award of Merit for Best Renovation
AIA MD Award
Pro Remodeler Silver Design Award

7735 Old Georgetown Road, Suite 700, Bethesda, MD 20814

About GTM Architects

GTM Architects is a full-service design firm with offices in Bethesda, MD and Washington, DC that specializes in commercial and residential architecture. The firm is set up as collaborative studios headed by the experts in those specialized areas. Their commercial studio has completed diverse projects, such as retail, restaurant, transit, and recreational facilities. George T. Myers is the president and founder of GTM Architects. He holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Architecture from the University of Maryland. Rick Conrath, the principal who leads the Commercial Studio, received his Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Houston and a Master of Science in Landscape Architecture from Harvard University.

Featured Projects

One of GTM’s current noteworthy projects is DC’s Union Station. Since it is a National Historic Landmark, Nationally Registered Historic Place, and National Treasure, GTM was involved in a long review process to renovate the 386k-square-foot Main Hall. GTM donated their services to restoring the Avalon Theater, built in 1922, which is the oldest surviving movie theater in Washington, DC. They used historical documents and photographs to best replicate the original design in the new work. Winning several awards for their residential and historic preservation work, GTM’s commercial studio was recently awarded the 2020 FRED Modern Masterpiece Award, 2019 Frederick County Landmarks Foundation Historic Preservation Award, 2018 NAIOP Award of Merit for Best Renovation, and the 2016 Silver Design Award for Commercial Remodel from Pro Remodeler Design Awards. Having already completed Phase I, they’re currently working on Phase II of Union Mills, a 53k-square-foot mixed-use complex in Frederick, MD.

Quinn Evans Architects

Mike Quinn
Diane Cho
Anath Ranon

Baltimore Heritage Award,
DC Office of Planning and DC Preservation League State Historic Preservation Officer’s Award,
AIADC Award of Excellence,
AIADC Award in Architecture,
AIA Potomac Valley Honor Award

2121 Ward Place, NW, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20037

About Quinn Evans Architects

Starting as a two-man studio, Quinn Evans Architects has grown to boast 22 principals with offices in four major cities. Their specialties are extensive, including adaptive use, cultural landscapes, and modern era preservation. Diane Cho, a principal who uses this integrated approach, recently won the Baltimore Heritage Award for her project Open Works, a two-story warehouse providing space for manufacturing, artists, and startups. She received her Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell. Another principal, Anath Ranon, combines her interest of historic preservation with a passion for adaptive reuse. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Architecture from UC Berkeley and her master’s degree from Harvard University.

Featured Projects

Featured projects demonstrate QEA’s trademark integral approach. Their work on the National Academy of Sciences received several awards, such as the 2013 State Historic Preservation Officer’s Award, DC Office of Planning and DC Preservation League, and 2014 the Award of Excellence in Historic Resources, AIADC. They also completed the Mosaic Community services project, which was a 30k-square-foot renovation for a community-based mental health facility. QEA renovated the Old City Hall in Richmond, Virginia, by putting a contemporary twist on an old design through sustainability and restoration. QEA modernized the Benjamin Franklin Museum, set on the site of Franklin’s home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which earned the 2014 AIADC Award in Architecture and 2014 AIA Potomac Valley Honor Award.

Studios Architecture

Todd DeGarmo

NR Mid-Atlantic Award of Merit

1625 M Street, NW Washington, DC 20036

About Studios Architecture

Studios Architecture is an international firm, but their Washington DC office is a force in the area, working with local, federal, and foreign governments; law firms; financial firms; schools; and various businesses. Todd DeGarmo is the firm’s CEO and has worked with his diverse clients (such as the Pentagon and Dow Jones) at every step of the design process. He was educated at the University of Cincinnati. A member of several boards and organizations, DeGarmo is also GSA Design Excellence Peer Reviewer, a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects, and was inducted into Interior Design Magazine’s Hall of Fame in 2007.

Featured Projects

Studios Architecture’s commercial projects are varied and numerous. Their Association of American Medical College’s 265k-square-foot headquarters project in DC earned the firm a ENR Mid-Atlantic Award of Merit: Office/Retail Mixed-Use Developments in 2014. Their innovative renovation work on the Pentagon gives the the space the capability to change every four years with every new Joint Chief of Staff. In 2009, they were awarded the design contract to relocate the Non-Governmental Organization’s Treasury and Finance Departments (named Project 2010). In doing so, they planned every aspect of the building, which was LEED platinum certified. An interesting study Studios Architecture recently completed was the American Institute of Architects Headquarters in Washington DC. Recognized by their peers for their design excellence, Studio Architecture designed a renovation that would aim for carbon neutrality by 2030.

Shalom Baranes Associates

Shalom Baranes

AIA Award of Excellence, DC Preservation League 45th Anniversary Award

1010 Wisconsin Avenue NW, Suite 900, Washington, DC 20007

About Shalom Baranes Associates

The stats of DC-based Shalom Baranes Associates are impressive. Since its founding 36 years ago, the firm has created projects totalling over $7B and 30M square feet. Shalom Baranes Associates has received an astounding 140 design awards, including recognition from the AIA, DC Preservation League, Washington Building Congress, Design-Build Institute of America, and the Mayor’s Award. Shalom Baranes is the founding principal of the firm. His interest in revitalizing the urban landscape has made him an expert in the DC area and has made Shalom Baranes Associates a force in the historic preservation and urban planning fields. One of the youngest architects ever to be inducted into the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows, Baranes earned his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Architecture degrees from Yale University. He also chaired the DC Architectural Review Panel.

Featured Projects

This major firm has designed and completed many complex projects in the DC metro area. Their work on the National Landmark 575k-square-foot American Red Cross Historic Headquarters won them an Award of Excellence for Extraordinary Achievement in Historic Preservation from AIA in 2006. They also renovated the Warner Theatre, constructed in 1924, two blocks away from the White House. Now a mixed-use complex, the design won several awards, including a recent 45th Anniversary Award in Historic Preservation from the DC Preservation League. Another unique undertaking was The Yards at Southeast Federal Center, in which the firm revitalized the underused waterfront and turned it into an outdoor area for the community. It was one of the first projects in the country to receive a LEED Gold certification for Neighborhood Development.


Bob Clark
Burt Pinnock

Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design, Architectural Record 300, ENR 500

1010 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 400, Washington DC 20005

About Baskervill

Founded in Richmond, Virginia, in 1897, today Baskervill is one of the nation’s oldest continually operating architectural firms with a growing global footprint. We offer creative architectural, interior design, and MEP engineering solutions to a varied client base, from hotels and resorts, to workspaces, healthcare facilities, higher education institutions and more. While a sense of history grounds us, it’s the idea that design can solve problems of the future that keeps our creative teams inspired. That’s what’s continued to connect our firm with exceptional clients resulting in award-winning work over our 120 years in business. Today, we’re more than 145 employees strong, with a 94% repeat-client base. Those numbers matter.
We design spaces that empower ideas & connect people. We’re not defined by a particular aesthetic; instead, we work with clients to make their space a reflection of who they are. We believe great design is the result of asking the right questions, listening with an open mind, and creating with our clients – not for them. As a multi-disciplinary design firm we offer a mix of services tailored to the needs of our clients and their individual projects.

Featured Projects

One of the firm’s most notable projects in an addition and renovation to the Virginia Capitol in 1904, which added the eastern and western wings to increase space for the growing government. More recently, the firm was honored with two finalists in the Gold Key Awards for Excellence in Hospitality Design for the Glass Light Hotel & Gallery, Autograph Collection Hotels in Norfolk, Virginia and the AC Charlotte SouthPark in Charlotte, North Carolina as well as a GRACRE Real Estate Award for Industrial Project of the Year for Polykon Manufacturing. The firm is currently working on diverse projects including William & Mary’s Memorial to the Enslaved, the Pamunkey Indian Tribe’s Norfolk, Virginia casino, and the Better Housing Coalitions Colbrook housing development, among many others.

Beyer Blinder Belle

John H. Beyer
Frederick A. Bland

American Architecture Award,
Associated General Contractors of America National Merit Award,

3307 M Street NW, Suite 301, Washington, DC 20007

About Beyer Blinder Belle

Beyer Blinder Belle was founded on the principle of architecture empowering people—and how it moves and functions within their world. The firm is based both in New York City and Washington, DC. John H. Beyer is the founding partner and Frederick A. Bland was the first partner to join the founders. Beyer earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from Harvard University, while Bland earned both at Yale University. The firm has been featured in several publications, such as Surface Magazine, Contract Magazine, Interior Design Magazine, Architect Magazine, and Time Magazine. It has also been honored with awards from the AIA, Washington Building Congress, Docomomo US, Society of American Registered Architects, Historic House Trust, and to name a few.

Featured Projects

Beyer Blinder Belle is involved in a large amount of civic, cultural, and commercial projects. An especially notable project is their work on the US Diplomacy Center and Museum, which is located at the State Department Headquarters in Washington DC. The design includes exhibits that display real-time information between the embassies and other exhibits around the world. The 15,400-square-foot lobby opens up into an expansive exhibition pavilion and gallery spaces. BBB also completed a Comprehensive Building Plan for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. These plans have included repairs, capital projects, and upgrades through 2022. The multi-disciplinary project includes many aspects: building systems, theater functionality, and acoustics. Every component of this state-of-the-art performing space was examined.


Art Gensler
Andy Cohen
Diane Hoskins

#1 at ENR 2016 Top 150 Global Design Firms,
#1 at Architectural Record 2016 Top 300.

2020 K Street NW, Washington, DC 20006

About Gensler

Considered the largest and one of the leading firms in the world, Gensler is a powerhouse. With over 600M square feet of sustainable work, Gensler is committed to sustainability. It takes the time to partner with community organizations all over the world to affect social change. It is led by Andy Cohen and Diane Hoskins, two formidable co-CEOs. They lead over thousands of employees, creating in 44 offices, and serving clients in over 120 countries. Cohen and Hoskins both made the Business Insider’s elite “Creators” list, a collection of the world’s 100 top creative visionaries. Gensler topped the list at #1 of the ENR 2016 Top 150 Global Design Firms. It was also the #1 architecture firm for Architectural Record 2016 Top 300.

Featured Projects

Gensler has several noteworthy projects in their esteemed portfolio. Partnering with the Pentagon Memorial Fund, they created a series of plans and a capital campaign book for the 9/11 Pentagon Visitor Education Center. Gensler’s work with the Federal Government Agency has not only provided the agency with renovations and relocations, but has also saved it over $29M in real estate costs over 10 years. A recent exciting project was a collaboration with the Washington 2024 to propose designs for Olympic facilities for the 2024 US city bid. Another recent interesting DC project is 99M, a high-end commercial space in the booming Capitol Riverfront neighborhood. An interesting feature of the exterior is folded, staggered metal panels that serve as a contrast to many of the standard buildings in the area.

KUBE Architecture

818 18th St. NW Suite #600, Washington DC 20006

About KUBE Architecture

Kube Architecture specializes in modern designs and is best known for its designs’ emphasis on the importance of light, color, texture, and materiality. It embraces the challenges that come with daily life and commits itself to craft solutions geared towards spaces that cater to working and living in the built environment. The firm also makes use of only the best materials and the latest industry techniques. It is composed of a talented team of professionals who bring a unique conglomerate of experiences and various skills. The firm is a green advocate and takes extra measures to further the movement. Whenever possible, it utilizes green elements, ensuring that its projects are energy efficient and highly sustainable. Aside from its commercial endeavors, KUBE has also worked on several restaurants, residential designs of all scales, urban design, educational facilities, religious buildings, community centers, and office tenant fit-outs.

Featured Projects

Its best work is embodied by the project above. Completed for the Woven Culture Peace Corps, this space won the firm the 2017 Northern Virginia AIA Award and the 2016 AIA/DC Unbuilt Merit Award. It features a wooden bamboo structure that serves as an active place of social interaction, tying the site together. Bamboo was selected for its sustainability and quality.

OTJ Architects

555 11th St. NW Suite #200, Washington DC 20004

About OTJ Architects

Operating out of offices in Washington, New York, Florida, California, and Massachusetts, OTJ Architects is a premier architecture firm best known for its award-winning designs and complete range of services. It has been in business for the past three decades and is known not only for its commercial projects, but also its endeavors in the corporate, government, arts and entertainment, as well as nonprofit sectors. The firm is led by its CEO Lance Jaccard, an experienced professional who received his Masters in Architecture from Clemson University. He is joined by a talented team that includes a fellow of the AIA and several green-certified professionals, making its projects both sustainable and energy-efficient. Together they have worked on a multitude of interesting projects and do not limit themselves to any particular designs, showcasing a rich portfolio of varying complex themes.

Featured Projects

The firm’s craftsmanship may be best seen in its work for the Howard Theater. First built in 1910, this theater was once at the center of a vibrant African American community. It has had the privilege of being the stage of legends like Ella Fitzgerald and the Supremes and with the firm’s guiding hand throughout its latest renovation, now features its original exteriors and an all-new 600-seat multi-purpose, performing arts hall.