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The Best Architectural Firms in Washington, DC

9 Min Read
©Anice Hoachlander/ Hoachlander Davis Photography

Last updated on May 27th, 2024 at 12:47 pm

Washington, DC pulses with history—it’s filled with monuments, diverse neighborhoods, and vibrant cultural scenes. From cherry blossoms to insightful museums, it’s a city of wonder. The list below contains eight of the best architectural firms working in Washington, DC, chosen based for their awards, experience, and portfolios.


FOX Architects

1240 22nd Street NW, Washington, DC 20037

Established in 2003, FOX Architects is a beacon of innovative design in Washington, DC. Recognized for its award-winning architectural and interior design solutions, the firm is commited to fostering healthy, high-performance spaces that resonate with both functionality and aesthetic appeal. Emphasizing a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach, its teams are driven by research, discovery, and a genuine respect for the people involved.

Leadership at the firm includes figures like Derek Wood and Bob Fox—both shape the company’s vision with decades of expertise. Having secured numerous accolades, such as the Urban Design Merit from AIA in 2020 and the Excellence in Architecture from AIA in 2019, the firm consistently showcases its caliber in the industry.

Featured in reputable platforms like The Washington Post and Architect Magazine, FOX Architects remains a prominent entity in the design realm. With 20 years of service and counting, it continues to shape the architectural landscape with passion and precision.


Bonstra | Haresign Architects

1728 Fourteenth Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20009

Bonstra | Haresign ARCHITECTS, established in 2000, stands at the intersection of innovative design and transformative community architecture. Guided by the ethos that architecture can inspire and transform, it’s firmly rooted in Washington, DC, employing an impressive team of 32 dynamic, talented, and passionate architects and designers. Their approach is hinged on the belief that design should echo its time, resonate with its physical context, and ignite the public imagination. Drawing inspiration from challenging sites, it excels in adaptive use, restoration, and infusing modern design in historical settings.

Photo by: ©Anice Hoachlander

Led by William J. Bonstra, FAIA, LEED AP and David T. Haresign, FAIA, the firm’s partners have a legacy of prestigious awards and continue contributing to the cultural and academic communities. Their portfolio boasts design accolades from institutions like the American Institute of Architects and Multifamily Executive Awards. Esteemed press mentions include The Washington Post and Arch Daily. Recognized by renowned bodies such as the American Institute of Architects and the US Green Building Council, the firm shapes the architectural discourse within the profession and to the public, one design at a time.


OTJ Architects

580 Water Street SW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20024

OTJ Architects, established in 1990, embodies a profound commitment to crafting enduring, human-centric designs. Based in multiple offices nationwide, it uniquely integrates diversity, wellness, and sustainability across an expansive spectrum that includes the commercial real estate, government, life sciences, arts, culture, and education sectors. Leading the firm is Senior Principal and CEO Lance Jaccard, who boasts decades of expertise. His distinguished portfolio embraces notable spaces for brands like Adobe, PBS, and the U.S. Department of State.

An alumnus of Clemson University, Lance is recognized by institutions like the American Institute of Architects and holds a LEED AP accreditation. OTJ’s excellence hasn’t gone unnoticed; its accolades include the prestigious Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award. The firm’s impact and designs consistently draw attention from renowned publications, including Architectural Record and Dezeen. Championing innovation and sustainability, OTJ Architects continues to redefine architectural narratives.


HYL Architecture

607 14th Street NW, Suite 250, Washington, DC 20005

Established in 2014, HYL Architecture has emerged as an adept creator of workspaces, emphasizing environments that elevate individuals and organizations. With a strategic focus on destination workplaces and comprehensive renovations, it manifests an understanding of both operational and cultural dynamics shaping real estate choices. Beyond geographical confines, this certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) consistently crafts superior outcomes that return value on the investment.

Managing Principal Catherine Heath, with over three decades of expertise, has a legacy of over thirty design accolades. Esteemed as a global commercial interior design maven, her projects span a broad scale and frequently grace distinguished periodicals. HYL’s portfolio radiates influence, showcasing projects that transform major US cities. Amassing recognitions like “Best Corporate Office” from NYCxDESIGN Awards and having affiliations with premier institutions like the American Institute of Architects, HYL Architecture stands as a beacon of architectural prowess.


Kube Architecture, PC

 818 18th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006

Kube Architecture, PC, an award-winning modern architectural studio, believes in redefining the norms of daily life through its high-performance, elegant designs. Founded in 2005, it has consistently provided innovative solutions for various residential and commercial projects. Its experienced team, driven by passion and creativity, takes pride in crafting spaces tailored to client lifestyles, aspirations, and budgets.

Emphasizing sustainability, longevity, and the exploration of new materials and construction methods, it consistently ensures that its designs are both efficient and sophisticated. Janet Bloomberg, a leading partner, has over three decades of architectural experience. With her designs gracing numerous international publications, she is also recognized as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and has imparted her knowledge at prestigious universities.

During its 18-year journey, Kube Architecture’s contributions have been acknowledged with numerous accolades and mentions in esteemed publications, showcasing its prowess in the architectural domain.


Barnes Vanze Architects, Inc

1000 Potomac Street NW, Suite L-2, Washington, DC 20007

Founded in 1989 by visionaries Anthony “Ankie” Barnes and Stephen Vanze, Barnes Vanze Architects has grown over 34 years into a dynamic 22-member architectural and interior design studio rooted in Georgetown. It has meticulously revived old city abodes to their former grandeur, employed classical architecture to enrich new homes with historical depth, and adeptly morphed generic houses into authentic masterpieces. Each design echoes client aspirations and functional necessities, ensuring that every project, be it residential, commercial, or institutional, receives the firm’s individualized touch.

Barnes Vanze Architects cemented its reputation for design excellence with esteemed accolades, including the AIA’s Award of Excellence in Residential Architecture and recognitions in top-tier publications such as Architectural Digest. Its founders, Anthony Barnes and Stephen J. Vanze—along with Principals Wayne Adams, Melanie Giordano, Ellen Hatton, and Michael Patrick, are guiding lights on the architectural scene, steering the firm’s unwavering commitment to exceptional design.


Gardner Architects LLC

1010 Wayne Avenue, Suite 330, Silver Spring, MD 20910

Gardner Architects, established in 2003, champions sustainable design and artisanal architectural craftsmanship. With over two decades of versatile experience, ranging from net-zero communities to vacation homes to private homes in Washington, DC and the surrounding metro area, it prioritizes a detail-focused design approach. Predominantly centered on residential architecture, Gardner Architects approaches each undertaking – whether a renovation, extension, or new construction – by creating elegant spaces expressed through well-crafted details, each brought to life through its focus on natural light.

Gardner Architects endorses a collaborative ethos where all stakeholders, from architects to owners, collectively decide on materials, systems, and technologies, creating a foundation for the design. Led by Amy E. Gardner-a seasoned architect with over 30 years in the field, a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and an academic-the firm has garnered accolades like the AIA’s Honor Awards and has been spotlighted in renowned publications such as The Washingtonian. Celebrating 20 years, Gardner Architects continues to shape the architectural landscape.


CHECA Architects, PC

2336 Wisconsin Avenue NW, #32130, Washington, DC 20007

Founded in 1992, CHECA Architects is a beacon of conscious, innovative design. With a foundational belief that genuine architectural artistry echoes individual sensibilities, it weaves clients’ dreams and aspirations into a harmonious fusion of form, light, and space. This harmony complements the natural beauty of the surroundings and elevates the human spirit. It is committed to every finely-tuned detail—and you’ll notice that when you review the firm’s elegant, modern domiciles, whether they be in urban, pastoral, or suburban settings.  

Central to the firm’s ethos is sustainability; every project is an emblem of its profound respect for the land. With a dedicated team of green-minded professionals, including the seasoned principal Lorena Checa, the firm infuses each venture with top-tier sustainable practices, ensuring a beneficial impact on people and the environment. Over its 31 years in the industry, CHECA Architects has earned plenty of accolades, including the AIA’s Presidential Citation for Sustainable Design, and has seen its work featured in publications like Home & Design Magazine.