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Long before the invention of the enclosed mall, the suburban ambitions of major department-store chains began to transform drowsy bedroom communities. For his illustrated lecture, “Creating Centers Beyond Downtown: The Role of Department Stores in Transforming the Suburbs,” George Washington University architectural history professor Richard Longstreth will concentrate on the postwar expansion of the city’s department-store chains, emphasizing the once-dominant Woodward and Lothrop. At 6:30 p.m. at the National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. $7. For reservations call (202) 272-2448. (MJ)