Preserving the past for a better future
Preservation doesn’t just revive the past, it also reveals invaluable insights about how to protect our iconic treasures and build better structures for tomorrow.
The Foundation and the AIA are uncovering best practices in preservation by rejuvenating the Octagon House, a historic landmark and a living laboratory.
Designed by the first architect of the Capitol, William Thornton, the Octagon has witnessed some of history’s most significant moments, including the official end of the War of 1812, the 1814 burning of Washington, and D.C.’s rise as a symbol of democracy. Prestigious families, presidents, and entertainers have walked its halls, and it was AIA’s first D.C. headquarters.
The Octagon teaches us about America’s past and its continued progress. That’s why we’re working to keep its structure sound and its legacy alive, with exhibits, educational programs, and multi-site partnerships. And we’re transforming the way preservation is performed—sharing lessons we learn along the way.
Today, the Architects Foundation administers The Octagon, whose restoration is a national model of historic preservation. The museum’s galleries host renowned exhibitions on architecture and design. A variety of programs also brings a range of architectural topics to the American public.