Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture

"Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture," Government Services Administration, 1962.

Excerpt: In the course of its consideration of the general subject of Federal office space, the committee has given some thought to the need for a set of principles which will guide the Government in the choice of design for Federal buildings. The committee takes it to be a matter of general understanding that the economy and suitability of Federal office space derive directly from the architectural design. The belief that good design is optional, or in some way separate from the question of the provision of office space itself, does not bear scrutiny, and in fact invites the least efficient use of public money.

The design of Federal office buildings, particularly those to be located in the nation’s capital, must meet a two-fold requirement. First, it must provide efficient and economical facilities for the use of Government agencies. Second, it must provide visual testimony to the dignity, enterprise, vigor, and stability of the American Government.

It should be our object to meet the test of Pericles’ evocation to the Athenians, which the President commended to the Massachusetts legislature in his address of January 9, 1961 : “We do not imitate-for we are a model to others.”

The committee is also of the opinion that the Federal Government, no less than other public and private organizations concerned with the construction of new buildings, should take advantage of the increasingly fruitful collaboration between architecture and the fine arts.

U.S. General Services Administration