Brenda Sanchez

Member of Architecture Board of Visitors

Brenda Sanchez, FAIA, is a Senior Architect and Senior Design Manager for the Smithsonian Institution and has practiced Architecture for over 30 years. She has led numerous high profile projects in planning, architecture, and facilities management including the design of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture for the Smithsonian Institution and the Battelle-Thompkins Building for the Office of the Architect at American University. She was sole proprietor of Brenda Sanchez Architects for nine years after having worked for several award-winning and nationally recognized architectural firms.


Serving as Owner’s Representative, Brenda has played a leadership role in conducting international competitions, developing project Scopes of Work, evaluating technical AE proposals, participating in AE selection boards, and directing the design and management of multi-million dollar design contracts. Her roles during construction have ensured the design intent was preserved without sacrificing the longevity and maintenance of the buildings.


A LEED accredited professional, Brenda has advanced sustainable design in cultural institutions and research facilities, both nationally and internationally. Her leadership for sustainability was instrumental in generating major policy requirements for the Smithsonian and the development of sustainability monographs for NCARB. Her collaborative and grassroots approach has raised the design excellence of local communities and the profession worldwide. In addition to the Smithsonian Institution, her contributions to the advancement of the profession have been channeled through leadership roles in local and national architectural regulatory groups. She has written and lectured extensively and raises the bar for Fellowship with continued volunteer efforts transforming blighted and neglected areas into thriving communities and the mentoring of younger talents.