From exploring to painting: How I spend my free time in DC

Unlike some of my other LHIP counterparts, my office is not in a national park focusing on ecology. Instead, I work for the Heritage Documentation Programs (HABS/HAER/HALS) at their main headquarters in Washington, DC. The office documents historic architectural, engineering, and landscape sites and objects. The collection of documents created in the office are housed in the Library of Congress.

Final inkings of buildings along the National Mall based off of photos taken during my explorations.

As a graduate of the Architecture program at Auburn University, one of the main benefits of this internship for me is that I am able to see and experience so many different types of buildings located within the city and close by. During the week, I am able to go to projects like the Beatty Cramer House (originally built in the 1700’s) or see memorial statues created in the early 1900’s, like my project the General Jose de San Martin Memorial.  The architecture does not stop on my weekdays though. The weekends are my time to explore the national’s capitol and all that it has to offer. From touring the oldest private residence in DC called the Octagon or heading further north to see modern midrise buildings made of glass and louvres. In DC the architecture is as much of a melting pot of ideas and techniques as the people that call it home.




Sketches depicting the Eisenhower house, the Union Station Ceiling, and various moments in the Renwick Gallery

Some of my favorite moments in DC don’t happen while I am out exploring. Instead, they happen when I get back to my apartment and have a moment to reflect on what I have seen that day. My Nikon camera is my constant companion and it’s not till the end of the day that I get to see how the images turned out. I then turn my photographs into inkings that are like watercolors. The idea behind them is not to catch every detail but the moment when you first glance at a project and really see it for what it is. Hopefully, by the end of the summer I will have at least ten works to remember my time here.

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