Yesterday, Buzzfeed took some of DC’s government buildings to task for being part of the brutalist architecture movement of the 1960s and ’70s, pointing out “the seven most heinous, unforgivable scars ever allowed to pollute our otherwise architecturally pleasant nation’s capital.”
GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini thanked the author for his interest in government buildings. We have asked Congress for funding to maintain and repair the federal buildings that we manage.
We appreciate your enthusiasm for the President’s proposal to support the Federal Buildings Fund @bennyjohnson.
— Dan Tangherlini (@DanGSA) July 16, 2014
Johnson rightly points out that we do have an “architecturally pleasant” city, and here are some of the examples we love:
Eisenhower Executive Office Building
— Phil Humnicky (@phumnicky) April 25, 2013
She Who Must Be Obeyed
Johnson thinks this work is “what happens when you let government lawyers commission art,” but when you walk around Tony Smith’s, She Who Must Be Obeyed, 1976, it assumes completely different silhouettes – just what art is supposed to do.
All photos Carol M. Highsmith Photography
Jamie L. Whitten Federal Building (Dept. of Agriculture)
This classical style building would set the standard for the large federal buildings of the early part of the twentieth century.
The Robert C. Weaver Federal Building (Dept. of Housing and Urban Development)
Beauty is also in the eye of the beholder.
The HUD Building is a powerful sculptural form designed by Marcel Breuer, an internationally respected architect whose work had a profound impact on the course of Modern architecture. The HUD building’s dramatic use of reinforced concrete, geometric simplicity, and reduction of ornament exemplify the stark forms and raw surfaces of Modernism.
U.S. Tax Court Building
Striking and bold, the building exemplifies the culmination of Modern design principles coupled with technological advances that allowed for a new type of building.
The story of Victor Lundy, the architect who designed it, is as interesting as the building itself.
More Great Public Art, From the Past and More Recently
Whether from the 1940s, ’90s or just last year, there is a wealth of public art for folks to experience just by walking around town.
Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center
The Reagan Building and the Woodrow Wilson plaza work so well with the older buildings around them, you don’t even realize they’re new spaces.
Old Post Office
Yes, it’s being transformed into a luxury hotel, but it’s still one of the most spectacular buildings around.
What’s your favorite government building (whether in DC or elsewhere)? Share it with us on Twitter or Instagram using #BestGovBuilding (and tag us @usgsa).