Past Speakers/Topics

A Sampling of Past Meeting Speakers and Topics

Amy Weinstein

DC architect Amy Weinstein, FAIA described her latest project, a new plaza design for the Eastern Market Metro Station.   Ms. Weinstein received her Architecture degree from the University of Pennsylvania and has been practicing architecture in Washington DC for 30 years. After leading her firm Weinstein Associates Architects for 20 years, she is now a principal with Esocoff & Associates.  Her design work has received national AIA design awards and has been published in national and international journals.

Neil Albert

As the District of Columbia's City Administrator Albert  is responsible for managing the city's day-to-day operations and development of its annual budget. Until early May 2009, Albert had spent the last two years as Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, where he was responsible for executing the Fenty Administration's economic development strategy and managing a development pipeline worth more than $13 billion in public-private housing, retail, office and parks projects throughout the District. Albert serves on several boards, including the Washington Metro and Transit Authority, Washington Convention Center Authority and the District of Columbia Housing Authority. He is co-chairman of the Washington, DC Economic Partnership and chairman of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority board's committee on planning, development and real estate.

St. Elizabeth’s Campus

The proposed new headquarters complex for the Department of Homeland Security on the St. Elizabeths Hospital campus is the largest project ever undertaken by the U.S. General Services Administration.  Shapour Ebadi and Michael McGill described  the multiple planning and design issues posed by this project, involving development of more than 6 million square feet of space on a National Historic Landmark.  Mr. r Ebadi graduated from George Washington University in 1987 with a Civil Engineering degree and joined General Services Administration in project management  Mr. Ebadi has been assigned to numerous public projects over the course of the past 22 years including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Consolidation Project at White Oak, Maryland for which he leads the GSA team as the Project Executive.  Currently he is the Deputy Regional Commissioner for Campus Development and in addition to the FDA consolidation Project, he oversees the St. Elizabeths project.  Michael McGill has served for the past eight years as GSA's representative on the National Capital Planning Commission, as well as coordinating Congressional and media relations for the Public Buildings Service in GSA's National Capital Region.  He has worked previously as chief of staff to Senator Dianne Feinstein, and as executive director of two San Francisco-based public policy organizations.  He has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Kansas, and a master's in political science from the University of Texas.

Recent Trends in DC Architecture

Using beautiful images of award-winning projects, Mary Fitch, AICP, Hon. AIA, executive director of the DC Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, discussed significant trends in DC architecture:  where it's been, where it is going and what the future may hold. Mary Fitch has been executive director of AIA|DC since 1998.  She publishes the award-winning ArchitectureDC magazine and is responsible for many programs for the profession and the public. Prior to her tenure at AIA|DC, Mary managed the Monumental Core Project at the National Capital Planning Commission.

R. William Hard

Mr. Hard is Executive Vice President of LCOR.  He discussed North Bethesda Center, a 32-acre mixed use site at the White Flint Metro.  North Bethesda Center is the largest joint-development project ever approved by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The Main-Street style development that links all of the new buildings to the Metro station will include 930,000 square feet of office space, 202,000 square feet of retail space and 1,275 multifamily housing units. Hard presented the history, current status, and future plans for this strategically located development.

Monumental Core Framework Plan

US Commission of Fine Arts Secretary Thomas Luebke and National Capital Planning Commission Director of Plan and Project Implementation William Dowd (both Lambda Members) discussed of The Framework Plan for Reimagining Washington’s Monumental Core.  Tom and Bill showed how the plan will transform the federal precincts around the National Mall into vibrant destinations and improve the physical and visual connections between the city, the National Mall, and the waterfront, while achieving the highest levels of livability and sustainability in central Washington. 

Next Stops- Tysons & Reston: Silver Line Construction Coming

With early spring construction anticipated, Phase 1 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project continues on track.  On January 7, 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation forwarded the Full Funding Grant Agreement for the project to Congress for a 60-day review process. James Van Zee updated Lambda Alpha on the status of Dulles Rail Project through Tysons Corner to Wiehle Avenue in Reston. 

Royce Hanson

Hanson is the Chairman of the Montgomery County Planning Board ker.  Appointed in 2006 by the County Council, Mr. Hanson had been on the Board previously from 1972 to 1981.  During that time he led the effort to designate the county's 93,000-acre agricultural reserve, which is widely recognized as the nation's most successful effort at land conservation on the urban fringe. Following an illustrious academic career, including most recently at George Washington's Center for Washington Area Studies, he's back at the Planning Board as its Chairman.

Susan Piedmont- Palladino

Susan Piedmont-Palladino is an Associate Professor in the Graduate Architecture Program at Virginia Tech and curator of the National Building Museum's excellent exhibit series on Sustainable Design, including 'Big and Green,' 'The Green House ' and the current: 'Green Communities.' This current exhibit introduces communities large and small where citizens, political leaders, planning and design professionals, developers, and government agencies are working together for a more sustainable future. Ms. Piedmont-Palladino spoke about sustainable communities around the country and around the world.

Sam Black and Smart Growth

As Senior Counsel at Squire Sanders & Dempsy LLP, Sam Black has led, designed and negotiated transit and urban redevelopment financings for state and local governments, and counseled nonprofit organizations on governance, for-profit subsidiaries, legislative programs, industry standard-setting, tax issues and tax-exempt finance. He is chair and president of the Washington Smart Growth Alliance of the Business Transportation Action Coalition, supporting the region’s metro transit system. Sam discussed the Smart Growth Alliance and its work in the DC region.

Robert Young, Polshek and Partners

Architect Robert Young gave an overview of this 25,000 square foot Newseum, a museum of news. The Newseum features seven levels of galleries, theaters, retail spaces and visitor services. It offers a unique environment that takes museumgoers behind the scenes to experience how and why news is made.

Uwe Brandes, Urban Land Institute, and Michael Stevens, Capitol Riverfront BID

From Near Southeast to Capitol Riverfront : How did a series of neighborhood visioning workshops help catalyze billions of dollars of investment and the creation of a new mixed-use and mixed-income waterfront neighborhood? Uwe Brandes retraced the series of public planning actions undertaken as a part of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative and Michael Stevens will provided a development status report on the state of real estate investment in the newly renamed Capitol Riverfront neighborhood.


Greg Leisch

Mr. Leisch's presentation gave an overview of the national and regional economy as of 3rd quarter 2004, featuring insights into the multifamily industry in the Mid-Atlantic region. Special emphasis is given to pivotal forces, issues, and trends affecting the apartment markets of the greater Washington metropolitan area.


Robert Dunphy

For decades, urban economists have cited congestion-based toll pricing as the economic solution to traffic congestion. By adjusting tolls upward as congestion increases, motorists would seek to travel during less congested periods of time. The technology has developed to make this fully feasible and urban areas throughout the world are implementing a variety of applications. In addition to managing congestion, pricing creates revenues and opportunities for privatization. Lambda Alpha member, Bob Dunphy explained these trends and urban area efforts to manage congestion and growth through a variety of means.


Judy Feldman, PhD

Dr. Feldman spoke about the work of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall and their vision for the future. "The National Mall Third Century Initiative, a program of the National Coalition to Save Our Mall, a nonprofit advocacy group, says the Mall could grow again for the 21st century -- this time by reengineering not the riverbank but our concept of the Mall. Let it swing around through East Potomac Park, across a new bridge or two over the Washington Channel and east to South Capitol Street, taking advantage of redevelopment planned for that gateway avenue and around the new baseball stadium."


Stephen Fuller. PhD

What could be more timely than a thoughtful overview of the economic outlook given the current uncertainties? Certainly no stranger to Lambda Alpha, Steve Fuller, regularly tracks the economic performance of the Washington Metropolitan area, and most important, looks ahead to what seems likely to be in store for our regional economy. For many years, Steve's research and insights have earned him a position of respect as one of the region's foremost urban economists.


Howard Decker, FAIA.

The District Department of Transportation, DDOT, has recently completed the final draft of new Transportation Architecture Design Standards. Building on and related to the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Framework Plan created by the D.C. Office of Planning, these standards will be used to define the character of the public realm in a substantial portion of our city. They are in particular aimed at increasing waterfront access, enhancing mobility, and helping to reinforce and revitalize neighborhood character.


Bill Alsup

LAI Member Bill Alsup gave an update on the most exciting new projects in downtown. Hines and its partner Archstone-Smith are engaged with a team of planners to develop a master plan for the 9.75 acre former Convention Center site. This ongoing collaborative effort with the city will define the principals of design and retail development, possible locations for a new library, and public open space. The team includes the distinguished firms of Shalom Baranes Associates Architects, Norman Foster Architects, and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol Ltd. Landscape Architects.


Matt Birenbaum

From Common Ground preservation magazine: "It began as a country retreat in 1887, was a women's school in various guises for much of its existence, and finally was converted into an Army medical facility. More recently, it has been a cause celebre for local preservationists. The years saw unbridled architectural experimentation, which left what one historian calls a 'sense of motley abundance.' A Japanese pagoda, a castle in miniature, a Greek temple, an Italianate villa, a grotto and statuary - the effect goes from brooding to playful. "Now comes another incarnation. In 2006 it will be restored as the centerpiece of a new development designed by a pair of firms thatspecialize in integrating historic properties into the modern fabric."