NCARB and National Building Museum Welcome Local Architecture Students for Design Competition

Categories: Press

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Architecture students from six local universities got a firsthand look at how creative design solutions can improve their community during the National Building Museum’s 2018 Interschool Design Competition. Armed with essential drafting tools, each team had just eight hours to design a mixed-use building in Washington, DC’s Chinatown that includes an early childhood development center and low-income housing, as well as a community park.

The annual competition, which took place in the Museum’s iconic Great Hall on September 16, aims to enrich and expand upon the skills students are learning in the classroom—while raising awareness about the realities of practice. Similar to how a licensed architect would approach a project, students were asked to collaborate with peers, consider the community’s needs, and incorporate sustainable elements.

Nearly 50 students from the following schools participated in this year’s competition: The Catholic University of America, Howard University, Morgan State University, The University of Maryland, University of the District of Columbia, and Virginia Tech. The design solutions were evaluated by a jury of architects for overall design excellence, as well as innovation, impact, and relevance. On September 17, the winning project, titled “Growth,” was announced during an award ceremony.

“We are again thrilled to be involved with the design competition,” said Chase W. Rynd, executive director of the National Building Museum. “Our mission is to inspire curiosity about the world we design and build, and what better way to do that than to engage with the next generation of architects and designers to showcase how an idea can grow into a tangible project.”

The 2018 competition was generously supported by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), a nonprofit that develops the national programs for architectural licensure. Participants can use this experience to earn credit toward NCARB’s Architectural Experience Program® (AXP), which is a key step on the path to earning a license.

“This year’s design challenge empowered students to explore how architects can improve the health and wellness of the public,” said NCARB CEO Michael J. Armstrong. “We are always looking for innovative ways to help prepare students for the responsibilities of licensure, which is why we are excited to support this competition for a second year.”

For the past two decades, the Museum has collaborated with the three Washington-area chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) to organize the event, including AIA DC, AIA Northern Virginia, and AIA Potomac Valley, as well as the local architecture programs.

“The competition is exciting for students because it simulates real-world challenges and requires them to create, innovate, and collaborate in a new environment,” said Planning Committee Chair Sonia R. Jarboe, AIA, LEED AP BD+C. “I enjoy being able to work with my fellow architects to give back and inspire the future generation of architects.”


The National Council of Architectural Registration Boards’ membership is made up of the architectural registration boards of all 50 states as well as those of the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands. NCARB assists its member registration boards in carrying out their duties and provides a certification program for individual architects.

NCARB protects the public health, safety, and welfare by leading the regulation of the practice of architecture through the development and application of standards for licensure and credentialing of architects. In order to achieve these goals, the Council develops and recommends standards to be required of an applicant for architectural registration; develops and recommends standards regulating the practice of architecture; provides to Member Boards a process for certifying the qualifications of an architect for registration; and represents the interests of Member Boards before public and private agencies. NCARB has established reciprocal registration for architects in foreign countries.


The National Building Museum inspires curiosity about the world we design and build. We believe that understanding the history and impact of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, construction, and design is important for all ages. Through exhibitions and educational programs, we show how the built world has power to shape our lives, communities, and futures. Public inquiries: 202.272.2448 or visit Connect with us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.