David Varner


"I've come to appreciate that great design ideas can come from anywhere and anybody."

"I'm wired to build things," says David, who leads our Washington, DC office as well as the firm's Workplace practice, "and the things I like to build require a group effort." With more than 25 years of experience, David focuses on solutions for base building construction, build-to-suits, and mixed-use projects. He is particularly noted for his success in incorporating sustainable design into the mainstream commercial marketplace, and for his work rehabilitating older buildings, including one of Washington, DC's largest, the 2-million square-foot Constitution Center. "I've come to appreciate that great design ideas can come from anywhere and anybody," David remarks. "One of the great lessons is leaving yourself open to that." An encounter with jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie taught him a few nuggets, too. "He told me a lot about overcoming obstacles, rolling with situations, and expressing joy through music, and following your own path with dedication and levity."

Board of Directors, Firm Leader, Office Leader, Repositioning, Sustainable Workplaces

American Institute of Architects, College of Fellows (2017); Luminary Award for Excellence in Summit Speaking and Moderating, Core Club, CoreNet Global (2011); Character Under Construction Good Scout Award, Boy Scouts of America National Capital Chapter (2008)

Professional Credentials
American Institute of Architects, Fellow (FAIA), LEED Accredited Professional, Building Design + Construction (LEED AP BD+C)

E David.Varner@smithgroupjjr.com
P 202.974.5180
LinkedIn profile

Community Involvement

David actively shares his talents in the community, including the DC-Building Industries Association Community Service Day and teaching "Urban Land" through the Urban Land Institute (ULI). 

David recently participated in a ULI Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) which focused on the Florida Avenue Market area of Washington, DC. The goal of the TAP was to identify and elevate awareness of best practices on the following three topical areas to developers and other stakeholders who are influencing the rapid change in the study area: District Energy & Utility Infrastructure; Cultural Sustainability; and Open Space.