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Architecture and Community Planning


Prof. Clarence Pearson | | 202.274.5056

Architectural Research Institute

The Architectural Research Institute (ARI) was founded in 1987 through an intercity collaboration between the District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) Homestead Preservation Program and the University of the District of Columbia.  The collaboration between ARI and DHCD was, and still is, to provide comprehensive architectural services to allow for the reclamation of the city’s vacant, boarded and run down housing, in order to rehabilitate the properties so that they might be offered to low- and middle- income residents of the District of Columbia, thus giving these residents the opportunity of becoming homeowners.

Mr. Clarence W. Pearson, FAIA has been the director since the inception of ARI and is still providing leadership and vision for the future.

Although ARI’s primary client for the past twenty plus years has been the former Homestead Program, which has transitioned to PADD (Property Acquisition Disposition Division), the Institute’s staff and students also provide design and architecture services to other governmental agencies including the Department of Public and Assisted Housing and the District of Columbia Public Schools on a volunteer basis.  Technical services are also provided to nonprofit organizations which have included Manna, the People’s Involvement Corporation and East of the River Corporation during off-duty hours (a complete list is enclosed).

Since its inception, ARI has provided architectural services on the renovation and rehabilitation of more than 640 homes and apartments at a cost of more than $94,500,000.  As a result, these properties are once again part of the tax base for the city.  Thousands of lives have been positively impacted by the services of ARI through its contract with DCHD (PADD Program and Single Family Program).

ARI, in partnership with the UDC Architecture Program faculty, provides a means for students to become involved in critical design and construction issues confronting the city.  In keeping with that tradition of land grant college’s services to its community, all of the teaching and research is within the framework of providing directions and solutions to problems, including low and moderate income housing, shelter for the homeless, homesteading opportunities, community and institutional facilities and many of the other physical components of neighborhood economic revitalization strategies.  This provides students in the Architecture Program with the unique opportunity to incorporate exposure to actual community projects during their education and to have hands on experience in a wide cross section of activities associated with the practice of architecture such as: field documentation, specification writing, interaction with other professionals, and client contact through project administration.

Activities & Accomplishments

The Architectural Research Institute (ARI) provides cross-disciplinary research and service to support livable, sustainable, global cities. ARI offers programs in construction, architecture, and planning, providing students and faculty with opportunities for research and field work. The institute also assists District government and non-profit agencies with capital improvement initiatives. ARI offers the following services.

Building Rehabilitation

Building Rehabilitation services services focus primarily on the revitalization of abandoned properties throughout the District. Through ARI's building rehabilitation program, students have the unique opportunity to gain experience in a broad array of activities associated with the practice of architecture, including field documentation, specification writing, interaction with other professionals, and client contact through project administration. Most notably, ARI serves the District of Columbia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) through its Homestead Program. To date, ARI has participated in the rehabilitation of over 525 homes and apartments, projects valued at more than $110 million.

Building Systems and Envelope Assessment provides technical assistance and training to building owners, managers, operators, and occupants. Our team includes seasoned professionals with experience in ENERGY STAR and LEED® design, construction, and operations to help you realize your goals for high-performing, efficient buildings.


For more information about programs and services offered within CAUSES' Division of Land-Grant Programs, please call 202.274.7115 or email

D.C. Sustainability Act of 2012

College of Urban Agriculture and Environmental Studies (CAUSES)

CAUSES Academic Programs

RN to BS in Nursing – Dr. Pier Broadnax, Program Director
Nutrition and Dietetics - Dr. Prema Ganganna, Program Director
Urban Architecture and Community Planning - Dr. Susan Kliman, Program Director
PSM in Water Resources Management - Dr. Tolessa Deksissa, Director
Health Education - John Slack, Program Director

CAUSES Land-grant Programs

Center for Urban Agriculture & Gardening Education – Che' Axum, Director
Center for Sustainable Development – Dr. Dwane Jones, Director
Water Resources Research Institute – Dr. Tolessa Deksissa, Director
Center for Nutrition, Diet and Health - Dr. Lillie Monroe-Lord, Director
Institute of Gerontology - Claudia John, Director
Center for 4-H and Youth Development – Rebecca Bankhead, Director
Architectural Research Institute - Clarence Pearson, Director

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