D.C. Architecture Styles and Where to Find Them

As the heart of the United States, Washington, D.C., is a place that contains a myriad of styles that enhance the district’s beauty. Architectural styles originating from various eras and countries can be found across Washington, D.C., making it a desirable location to call home.

Here you will see some of the most famous architectural styles found in D.C. and will be given tricks and tips on where to find them on your hunt for your next property.


When asked to imagine architecture in Washington, D.C., you will probably think of neoclassical. The goal of this movement was to revive and adapt classic architecture in Ancient Greece and Rome, which is the style now seen on Capitol Hill. Neoclassical is a category that encompasses many styles under its umbrella, including beaux-arts.

The neoclassical style favors symmetrical lines and stories, clean columns, and elaborate doorways, just as the colonial style does in residential properties. In government buildings, neoclassical architecture is large, giving the impression it was made for a god. If you are looking for houses for sale in Washington, D.C., feel free to look at some neoclassical buildings to get ideas for your next project.

To find inspiration for this style, look at the White House, the U.S. Treasury, and the American Red Cross Headquarters. These buildings are stunning examples of neoclassical architecture and prove to be wonderful starting points for your designs.


Classic and elegant, the Victorian style is eagerly sought out by many homeowners. Like the neoclassical style, Victorian architecture has many sub-categories seen throughout the years. Named for the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901, this style has blended history with luxury to create an ornate result.

Victorian architecture is best known for its asymmetrical stories, turrets and gables, and large wraparound porches. The roofs are steeply pitched to further draw the eye upwards, allowing for the home to be fully appreciated. Once you enter, you will find grand staircases, gleaming hardwood floors, and stained-glass windows that bathe the home in multicolored light.

When looking for luxury homes for sale in Washington, D.C., a Victorian property is an excellent option. To find Victorian homes, stroll through the breathtaking neighborhoods in Dupont Circle, Georgetown, and Columbia Heights.


In the heart of Washington, D.C., you will typically find federal architecture, sometimes called the Adam style. This style first became popular in the 1780s and embodies historical American living. The style may be old, but do not let that fool you. Federal-style homes hide luxury behind their simple, maintained facades. The vast majority of federal homes are townhouses, which can be modest in size but not in beauty.

The federalist philosophy was one of strength, which is evident in the boxy look of historical row houses. The strength and endurance of these properties have stood the test of time and still influence architecture today. For example, the new luxury townhomes that are popping up all over. They are simple, with clean lines, uniform shapes, and classic windows. A federal exterior maintains the historic look that D.C. is known for, but the interiors are upgraded and modernized. We can honor the past while preserving its look and bring comfort and modern luxuries to allow these homes to maintain their place in our world.

Federal architecture can be found scattered all throughout Washington D.C., but specific neighborhoods include Burleith and Capitol Hill.


The Tudor style of architecture originated in England during the reign of the Tudors and went through a revival in Washington, D.C. It is a style that manages to both feel elegant and luxurious while also appearing cozy and quaint. Tudor homes are warm and inviting and manage to be humble in their luxury. They provide the perfect place to get away and relax, working off the stress of life within their walls.

The staples of the Tudor style are pointed roofs, brick-facing, and dark trim against the lightly colored sidings. Like many other styles, Tudor architecture blends history with modernity to make each home feel one of a kind. These homes feel like a treasure chest, with stunning exteriors hiding riches within.

When on the hunt for Washington, D.C., homes for sale, consider taking a look at neighborhoods featuring Tudor architecture. You can find examples of the Tudor Revival in places like Mount Pleasant and Petworth.


No matter where you go, contemporary homes will always demand a place. They provide the perfect juxtaposition for the older styles seen throughout Washington, D.C., and keep it looking fresh. While the other styles in this article blend the old and new, contemporary architecture is a breath of fresh air.

Like all other styles, there are subcategories of contemporary architecture. Some homes may have been built in the mid-1900s and still be contemporary, while some may have been made last week. No matter the exact age, these properties embody modernity and feel like a clean slate.

A contemporary style that is becoming increasingly popular is a property with concrete, steel, and geometric angles. Paired with long, clean lines and seamless windows, these homes will make you feel like you are truly entering the future. All aspects of these homes are streamlined, and the interiors are light, bright, and open.

If you are in the market for a contemporary home, you can find inspiration at the Kreeger Museum, the House of Sweden, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, and the Arena Stage.

The next step: work with The McKenna Group

Desmond McKenna of The McKenna Group is a real estate professional who believes that the client's needs come first. No matter what you want to do with your next real estate project, Desmond will work tirelessly to make your dreams come true. If you are ready to start the process of buying, feel free to look at the featured listings at the McKenna Group before reaching out.

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