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PORTIA A STRAHAN

POM Studio Architects

SAY IT LOUD - WASHINGTON DC Exhibitor
Washington DC Based Designer

Who or what inspires you professionally?

Black women in history who have faced incredible adversity. Women who have faced fear, rejection and death have pushed me to dig deep, and to keep learning and speaking my mind. My mom, godmother, and grandmother make that list as well.

PORTIA A STRAHAN

Bio:

The great architect, Portia Strahan, AIA, NOMA, LEED AP is a licensed architect in Washington, DC and Maryland. Her love for design and construction led her to pursue her Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture at Cornell University. She received her Master’s in Architecture at the University of Utah where she participated in Design Build bluff helping to build an off grid classroom/meeting hall:

http://www.designbuildbluff.org/index.php/project_page/cedar-hall-3/

She recently founded POM Studio Architects, a general design firm based in the Washington DC metropolitan area and teaches architecture at University of Maryland.

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?

I first learned of architecture from my twin sister, Patrice the final year of high school. We went to two separate high schools, but she knew that art and math were both subjects that we excelled in. I'm so glad she intervened, I was headed for engineering!

What do you do?

I am principal of POM Studio Architects, a general design firm based in the Washington DC metropolitan area. I’m also an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland College of Architecture and Planning teaching 3rd and 4th year design studio.

What excites you in the work you do?

It excites me that I’m able to practice architecture in the area where I grew up. I never imagined the communities where I went to church and school would be full of amazing business owners that would be become clients of mine.

Who or what inspires you professionally?

Black women in history who have faced incredible adversity. Women who have faced fear, rejection and death have pushed me to dig deep, and to keep learning and speaking my mind. My mom, godmother, and grandmother make that list as well.

 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

Passing my architectural licensing exams hands down. It took over 6 years to pass all my exams and there were so many times I wanted to give up. These exams really instilled in me a deeper sense of patience, humility, resilience and confidence.

Featured Project Name: 

Alabama Ave Cupola + Interior Reconstruction

Featured Project Location: 

421 Alabama Ave SE DC

 

Featured Project Completion Date: 

November 2020

Role in Featured Project: 

Project Architect/Project Manager

 

Featured Project Description:

This project was to restore and enhance the symbolic and functional attributes of the existing cupola and cosmetically restore the interior sanctuary which were fire damaged. The three-tier structure was repaired and consisted of a shiplap base, tall ventilation shaft with custom wood trim and metal roof. The existing spire and cross were salvaged and restored. The plaster ceiling and trim work on the interior were also restored; lighting and mechanical louvres were repaired.

Photography Credit:

Kevin Scrimgeour - Trusted360Photo

Featured Project Name: 

Capitol Hill Rowhouse Renovation

Featured Project Location: 

A St SE DC

 

Featured Project Completion Date: 

Fall 2021

Role in Featured Project: 

Project Architect/Project Manager

 

Featured Project Description:

This early 1900s brick rowhome is being converted from a single-family home to a two-family flat. The accessible cellar and upper unit will feature the cozy comforts of home and classical finishes. Exterior historic details like the mansard roof, cornice, dentals and brick detailing will be repaired and enhanced. Green roofs and landscaping will help minimize storm water runoff and the alley wall will feature a mural that can showcase Capitol Hill’s African-American history.

Photography Credit:

N/A; images by POM Studio