The Catholic University of America

Urban Practice



Washington, D.C. and surround region offer a living collection of architectural and urban forms: from the colonial planned towns of Annapolis, MD, and Alexandria, VA, to post-war CIAM influenced Southwest urban renewal, the Washington-Baltimore region’s urban heritage is nearly unmatched in the United States. Its architecture is equally diverse and includes the works of Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Weiss-Manfredi, Cesar Pelli, I.M. Pei, John Russell Pope, Steven Holl, Foster + Partners and Heikkinen-Komonen. As the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., is home to national, international and local institutions including embassies, museums, cultural centers, and non-profit organizations such as the Urban Institute, The American Institute of Architects, and the Urban Land Institute. These and many more institutions play both a direct or indirect role in the program of study. It is in this fabric of urban typologies, institutions, and culture that students are asked to engage in urban design as an interaction of the physical, historical, theoretical, moral and ethical fabric that has the ultimate goal of helping shape the framework for the 21st century communities. Lastly, Washington, D.C., is home to several hundred architectural firms many of which were founded by or are guided by CUA alumni. Urban Practice students engage activily with the firms through office visits, juries and presentations. While we do not have an established placement system, 95% of Urban Practice students have found full-time work following graduation. Recent alumni work in firms from large to small such as Hickok-Cole, Ayers Saint Gross, WDG, Core, Gensler, David Schwarz, SOM, ZGF, Bonstra-Haresign and Kube.