Historic APhA Headquarters Building


Headquarters Building Timeline

Located between the Lincoln Memorial and the U.S. Department of State and adjacent to the National Academy of Sciences, the site for APhA headquarters was authorized by an act of Congress in 1932 and is the only privately owned building on the National Mall. The original structure has become known as the Pope building, after the architect John Russell Pope, whose work includes some of the most famous structures in Washington, DC. Pope was the architect for the Jefferson Memorial, National Archives, National Gallery of Art, and Constitution Hall.

The dedication of APhA headquarters was held on May 9, 1934. Twenty-five years later, in 1959, APhA broke ground for an annex to the original structure. The annex was completed within a year and dedicated during the 1960 APhA Annual Meeting. More than 40 years later, plans were unveiled at the 2001 APhA Annual Meeting to purchase the land behind APhA headquarters and replace the annex with a new structure.

Knowing that the new headquarters building would sit forever in the midst of Washington's glorious monuments, APhA realized that the building would have to meet exceptional standards of design excellence. The prominence of its location on the National Mall and its physical connection to the historic Pope building mandated that the design pass muster with all federal and District of Columbia review commissions. To meet this standard, APhA selected the firm Hartman-Cox Architects, highly respected for its expertise in neoclassical architecture. With the skillful guidance of Hartman-Cox, APhA, over a period of several years, succeeded in winning the approval of both the community and government review authorities. APhA also chose to meet the challenge of achieving a Gold rating for "green" building from the United States Green Building Council.

APhA's new building started off on the right foot when the ground to the north of the old annex was remediated to remove any trace of the dry cleaning chemicals dumped in the '40s and '50s by a previous occupant of the site. Considering its proximity to the Potomac River basin, the building was designed with exceptional ground water management systems; however, excavation disclosed that the building sits on a solid rock shelf. The two lowest levels had to be blasted out of the ground, a very delicate process in an urban area surrounded by historic structures. Seismographs were installed in surrounding buildings to ensure that vibration from blasting was contained within acceptable limits. Under the elegant exterior, APhA's new headquarters building is built to last. To meet government occupancy standards, it was necessary to build in "progressive collapse" — a structural system designed to allow a building to remain standing if a supporting column fails.

With the construction of the new annex, consisting of six floors above grade and two below, plus two parking levels, APhA's gross building area increased from 31,000 square feet to 359,026 square feet. The additional square footage allows the Association to rent space to the Department of State.

Pharmacy's enlarged footprint on the National Mall in Washington, DC — also known as the APhA building — was dedicated on November 13th, 2009 when some 400 people associated with the profession gathered at 2215 Constitution Avenue. Recalling the purpose of pharmacy — to bring hope, help, and health to people — speakers and attendees marked the occasion with enthusiasm that seemed to draw from the wind and rain that swirled during an hour-long ceremony on the steps of the historic APhA building.