March 22, 2011
by Rebecca Parelman Center for Architecture Foundation

Roberta Washington, FAIA, with C.S. 154 students.

Tim Hayduk

Last month, Roberta Washington, FAIA, Center for Architecture Foundation (CFAF) 2009 Board President and current board member, made two visits to C.S. 154, the Harriet Tubman School: first for the CFAF’s Learning by Design:New York (LDB:NY) residency and second per the request of art teacher Ms. Sciascia.

The LDB:NY residency focused on the architecture and landmarks of Harlem. Washington showed slides of the work of African-American architects whose buildings play an important role in the architectural history of Harlem and beyond. Students were excited to hear that Washington, who is the principal of Roberta Washington Architects and a long-time Harlem resident herself, designed several buildings that they recognized in their neighborhood. They instantly felt a connection to the architect and her work. Ultimately, students will use their knowledge and research from their LBD:NY residency to create a “Guide by Cell” audio guide of their neighborhood.

In Sciascia’s art class, students are learning about the built environment and the various design-related professions. During her visit, Washington explained to the 50 second graders the skills required to become an architect and described a typical day in the life of an architect. Students asked many questions, including, “How long does it take to build a project?” and “If the architect does not work out, who takes over the project?” Thanks to Washington, there may be a few more budding architects in our midst.

Special thanks to Washington for donating her time and to the CFAF and LBD:NY. For more information about the Foundation or scheduling a LBD:NY residency, visit, or contact Tim Hayduk at