Washington, DC — WDG Architecture, a leading national architecture firm based in Washington, D.C., recently launched the WDG/Special Projects Initiative (WDG/SPI) in support of educational and outreach programs in the Washington metropolitan area. Developed to commemorate WDG’s 75th anniversary this year, WDG/SPI’s inaugural project involves a collaboration between the design firm and a team of graduate students in The Catholic University of America’s (CUA) real estate development concentration. 

The $35,000 gift provides scholarships and internship opportunities for students named to the collaborative team, who then work with WDG architects on the design of a complex, forward-thinking project involving research, cutting-edge technologies, and sustainable and socially relevant goals. The first endeavor, a single-family residence for a client in Washington, D.C., will serve as a regional demonstration project that showcases home design that is carbon-neutral yet beautiful, comfortable, and market-friendly.

The WDG/SPI studio is led by WDG Managing Principal and Director of Design Eric Liebmann, AIA, who is a senior visiting critic and lecturer in the graduate program at Catholic University. Liebmann is supported by Tim Bertschinger, a senior design architect at WDG who serves as a visiting critic and lecturer at CUA, also at the graduate level; and WDG Partner George Dove, FAIA, a 1972 CUA graduate who also serves as a senior visiting critic and lecturer.

WDG scholarship recipient Katherine Miller, who will graduate from CUA in 2014 with a Master of Architecture and a Master of Science in Sustainable Design, is participating in the WDG/SPI residential project. “Working at WDG on a project that directly pertains to my career path at Catholic University has provided an amazing opportunity for real world and hands-on experience,” says Miller. “With my work experience thus far being in construction management, being able to work in such a large and well-known firm has been a great learning environment. I hope WDG continues to pursue such endeavors in the future!”

“While students crave real-world experience, professionals—conversely—seek opportunities for a deeper level of design investigation than our profit-centric work typically affords,” says WDG’s Liebmann. “Our net-zero house has offered an amazing array of challenges, which have tested the entire team at every level. We remain committed and confident that we will produce a product that will be truly unique in its commitment to energy efficiency and sustainability.”

Photo: Tim Bertschinger (second from left) joins Catholic University students at the Georgetown site of a net-zero home currently in design. Photo courtesy of WDG Architecture.

About WDG Architecture

WDG Architecture is a leading architectural, planning, and interior design firm with a national practice in mixed-use, multifamily residential, university, hospitality, office, and government design projects. The firm, which has offices in Washington, DC and Dallas, has designed numerous projects for public- and private-sector clients and consistently appears in the “Top 25 Architectural Firms” rankings in the Washington area according to the Washington Business Journal. Nationally, WDG Architecture is an ENR “Top 500” design firm, is ranked in the top 50 in the nation by ENR for “Green Design,” and is ranked first in the nation in green design for multi-unit residential projects. The firm has received many awards from AIA, the Congress of New Urbanism, NAIOP, and other organizations.  For more information, visit www.wdgarch.com