The AIA 2012 session "Connect to the World and Community: Region-Based Design and Its Connection to Culture, Community, and Place" on Thursday, May 17, was packed. The robust attendance probably had to do with the stellar lineup of speakers: The always-gracious Frank Harmon, FAIA, moderated the panel, which featured Mark McInturff, FAIA, Ray Calabro, AIA, and David Jameson, FAIA. (Calabro, a principal at Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, was filling in for Peter Bohlin, FAIA, who unfortunately had come down with pneumonia.)

McInturff called DC "a city of hybrid typologies", noting the area's widely varied climate. He then went on to show several top-notch projects that exemplify his own way of handling DC's cold winters and humid summers through a hybrid approach to design. The featured homes included Allee House, Rappahannock Bend Summer House/Guest House, and McInturff's own new weekend house on the Chesapeake Bay.

Calabro noted that since Bohlin Cywinski Jackson works in many different regions, its own challenge tends to lie in getting to know each environment. He presented 12 houses that show just how well the firm meets that challenge. Peter Bohlin's house for his parents was built during the 1970's, but it still looks fresh today, with its simple cedar siding, concrete columns, and steel sash windows. Several more of my favorite BCJ houses made the list, including the Gosline Residence in Seattle. "It's important for architects to think about magic and transformative qualities," Calabro said.

Jameson told the audience he strives to do work that is "unapologetically Modern, but rooted in place." The houses he showed illustrated that philosophy, from suburban infill residences outside D.C., to the rural Hooper's Island House, to the urban Barcode House. Jameson also presented his Tea House in Bethesda, Md., which is always a crowd favorite; it's suspended from a steel armature in a suburban back yard, creating a meditation pavilion by day and a glowing light fixture by night.--m.d.