Fentress Architects wins national AIA award for DC project

Royal Norwegian Embassy recognized in American Institute of Architects Interior Architecture Award 2024

The Royal Norwegian Embassy was named an AIA Interior Architecture Award 2024 winner at the AIA Conference on Architecture & Design 2024 in Washington DC, recognizing the year’s best in interior architecture and design.

“The award-winning interior architecture for the Royal Norwegian Embassy Renovation provides a sustainable, functional, and accessible 21st century office environment for foreign diplomats and staff.” – AIA Interiors Jury

Royal Norwegian Embassy Renovation (aia.org)

AIA’24 National Conference Awards Gala June 7, 2024. From left to right: Patrick McCue, Steve White, FAIA, Laura Grafel, AIA, Curtis Fentress, FAIA, Agatha Kessler and Toriano Davis, AIA. of Fentress Architects receive the AIA Honor Award – Interiors for the Royal Norwegian Embassy Renovation.

The renovation and addition to the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington, DC provides a sustainable, functional, and accessible, 21st century office environment for foreign diplomats and staff;  imbued with the values of Handlekraft (vigor), Arbeidsglede (joy of work), Profesjonalitet (professionalism), and Åpenhet (openness).

The LEED Gold project significantly enhances the Embassy’s functionality: with a program that stresses improved security, internal communications, universal access, and sustainability. Expansion spaces occur largely behind existing walls, capturing under-used courtyard spaces and containing them behind a residential-scaled, rhythmic façade that introduces subtle interest and variation into the constancy of DC’s Embassy Row neighborhood. 

An existing limestone garden wall was renovated to form the street façade of the new, signature Atlantic Ocean Hall. A patinated copper roof, recalling Norway’s gift of copper used for the Statue of Liberty, spans the mass-timber framework of the hall with a distinctive mansard shape. The country’s enduring shipbuilding and woodworking traditions are reflected in the exterior façade, interior finishes, and in the mass timber structure of the Hall.

Architecture can play a profound role in the diplomatic environment. The renovated Embassy promotes health, wellbeing, openness, transparency, craft, dignity, and respect; first for their diplomats and staff, for their guests, and ultimately has the power to shape diplomatic relationships in the future.

“Finding solutions together is diplomacy’s core…Our Embassy provides the perfect surroundings.”  His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Haakon at the Opening of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Washington D.C., Wednesday 8 December 2021

Project Team

Architect + Interiors:  Fentress Architects

Landscape Architect: Lee and Associates, Inc.

Contractor: Whiting-Turner Contracting

Structural Engineer: SK&A

MEP/FP Engineer: Girard Engineering, PC

Civil Engineer: Bohler Engineering

Façade Consultation: SK&A MD

Specialty Lighting: Flux Studio

Copper: DLSS Manufacturing

Timber: Wiehag & South County Post and Beam

Founded in 1980, Fentress Architects is a global design firm headquartered in Denver, Colorado; with five studios located throughout the United States. Our talented team of professionals have designed over $43 billion in significant architectural and interior works worldwide, that are visited by more than 750 million people each year, and which have garnered over 650 awards.

Project Photos following pages: © Alan Karchmer / OTTO

Garden and Atlantic Ocean Hall (Photo © Alan Karchmer / OTTO)

Atlantic Ocean Hall (Photo © Alan Karchmer / OTTO)

Mass Timber Detail (Photo © Alan Karchmer / OTTO)

Renovated Lobby (Photo © Alan Karchmer / OTTO)

Concept for Visitor Education Center at 9/11 Pentagon Memorial is Approved

National Capital Planning Commission & Commission of Fine Arts Approve Fentress Architects Design

Rendering of the Visitor Education Center at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial © Fentress Architects

ARLINGTON, VA – The Pentagon Memorial Fund, Inc. (PMF) recently passed a critical milestone in the development of a Visitor Education Center at the site of the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial. The Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) approved the concept design by Fentress Architects following an approval in July from the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC).  The Visitor Education Center will be located within walking distance of the Pentagon Memorial. It is also in close proximity to Arlington National Cemetery and the US Air Force Memorial. 

“With these approvals, the PMF has reached a milestone that will allow us to take the next step in building a visitors’ education center to tell the story of the terrorist attacks, the victims and responders and the subsequent national and international.” said Pentagon Memorial Fund, Inc. Board Chairman and President Sean T. Connaughton. “This history must be preserved and accurately passed on to future American generations.  We must never forget.”

While the Pentagon site was the first to have a 9/11 memorial, it is also the only site still lacking a visitors’ center.  The 9/11 Pentagon Memorial Visitor Education Center will honor the 184 victims of the attack on the Pentagon as well as explore the local, national, and international response to 9/11 and subsequent Global War on Terror.  Therefore, the Visitor Education Center is anticipated to function as a national convening space for the examination of these responses, and their continuing impact.

“The new Visitor Education Center at the 9/11 Memorial will be a dynamic structure—imbued with meaning, conducive to contemplation, and encouraging of resilience,” explains Curtis Worth Fentress, Founder and Principal-in-Charge of Design at Fentress Architects.

Over $14 million has been raised to support the creation of a 9/11 Pentagon Memorial’s Visitor Education Center. Major donors include Amazon & Amazon Web Services, the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, Transurban, Accenture, the J. Willard & Alice S. Marriott Foundation, and the Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation.  With these two key approvals in place, the Pentagon Memorial Fund has launched a campaign to raise the balance of funds necessary to complete the Visitor Education Center in time for the 25th commemoration of the 9/11 attacks, which will occur in 2026.   

About Pentagon Memorial Fund

Families of the victims of the 9/11 attack at the Pentagon formed PMF in 2003. The National Memorial was dedicated five years later as a public and private partnership. The PMF continues to support the Memorial with private funding and volunteer docents. Up to one million annual visitors experience the memorial today including many school groups from all over the United States. For more information on PMF, including how to give, visit pentagonmemorial.org.

Contact: press@pentagon-memorial.org // (202) 417 6590

About Fentress Architects

Fentress Architects is a global design firm dedicated to the creation of sustainable and iconic architecture that enhances the human environment. Founded in 1980 by Curtis Fentress, the firm’s portfolio serves over 650 million people annually, valued at over $47 billion, and has earned more than 600 distinctions for design excellence and innovation. For more information about Fentress Architects, visit fentressarchitects.com. Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Visitor Education Center Design Team

  • Design Architect & Architect of Record: Fentress Architects, Ltd.
  • Owner’s Representative:  Mark G. Anderson Consultants, Inc.
  • Exhibit Design: The PRD Group, LLC
  • Contractor: James G. Davis Construction Corp.
Rendering of Lower Entry © Fentress Architects
Section Rendering © Fentress Architects
Rendering of Upper Entry © Fentress Architects
Upper Facade Rendering © Fentress Architects
Site Plan © Fentress Architects