Architecture for Everyone: Girls Mentor Program 2022

April 07, 2022
BBB volunteers mentored young women, focusing on historic preservation and adaptive reuse, in our fourth year participating in AIA’s Architecture for Everyone: Girls Mentor Program.

Founded in 1988 by AIA|DC, the Washington Architectural Foundation (WAF) is dedicated to engaging DC-area students, teachers, professionals, and members of the public in the transformative power of architecture. WAF’s Architecture for Everyone: Girls Mentor Program, which formerly went by name of “Design Like a Girl,” pairs young women aged 12-14 with professional women mentors in the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering. 2022 marked BBB’s fourth year of participation in the program. 

Five mentors from the DC office—Rachel Edelstein, Courtney Fuenzalida, Katie Hummelt, Rebecca Meyer, and Caroline VanAcker—participated in this year’s program, which featured a workshop dedicated to historic preservation and adaptive reuse. The BBB mentors guided participants through sketching exercises, a discussion of how and why buildings can earn historic designation, and virtual behind-the-scenes tours of BBB projects on historic sites throughout Washington DC. 

In exploring the idea that a single structure can have several architectural chapters, the mentors shared some strategies for determining the past evolutions that a building has experienced. Insurance maps, photographs, building permits, newspaper articles, and architectural drawings all play a major part in this process—as does the visual inspection of building materials. 

» Play along with this year’s mentees: in the slideshow below, can you “spy” the different eras of building materials used in the Planet Word staircase or in the Washington Monument’s masonry?


Ultimately, the workshop’s aim was the same as the program’s overall goal—to encourage youth to consider careers in architecture and, more broadly, to nurture a next generation of architectural leaders who represent the diverse public that the industry serves.