Arthur L. Anderson, 87, a Washington area architect whose projects included the Wheaton Plaza shopping center and the clubhouse at Rosecroft Raceway, died Sunday at Falmouth Hospital in Falmouth, Mass., following a heart attack.

He lived in Gaithersburg and was visiting a stepdaughter at the time of his death.

Mr. Anderson was born in Boston. He learned drafting as a young man and architecture by himself. Before moving to Washington in 1933 he was a baker in Atlanta.

In 1934, Mr. Anderson went to work for an architect in Washington. In 1944, he opened his own firm, Arthur L. Anderson & Associates. He designed numerous commercial and residential properties in the area before his retirement in 1965. His firm then was taken over by William Fahey, a longtime associate.

Mr. Anderson belonged to the American Institute of Architects, the Washington Downtown Host's Lion Club and the Washington Board of Trade. w

A member of the Annapolis Yacht Club, he often sailed his boat to Florida for the winter months. For several years he maintained a summer home in Ontario, Canada.

Mr. Anderson's survivors include his wife, Zilpah Huie Anderson of Gaithersburg; two stepchildren, Dr. Dorothy F. Travis of Falmouth, and James Ernest Travis of Arlington, and three stepgrandchildren.