Department of the Interior - South (U.S. Public Health Service), Washington, DC

1951 Constitution Avenue is a three story E-shaped building featuring a raised basement, shallow projecting corner pavilions, and a gabled tile roof. The structural system is composed of a concealed steel frame and concrete floors. At the east, south, and west elevations the building is surrounded by raised terrace separated from the exterior walls by an areaway. The principal exterior building materials consist of marble on the east, south, and west facades; limestone within the two courtyards; and stucco on the north facades of the east and west wings. The primary facade is faced in white Georgia marble and features a thirteen bay, engaged double-height colonnade of fluted Doric pilasters flanked by shallow projecting corner pavilions. A large entablature composed of a plain frieze and enriched ornamental cavetto cornice surmounts these pilasters. A single-height entrance pavilion composed of three pedimented formal entryways is centered on the facade. Notable interior spaces include an elaborate marble entrance lobby, marble stair and elevator lobbies, and an ornamental auditorium space, all of which feature decorative painted finishes on ornamental plaster and compo features. An elaborate wood panelled primary executive office suite is located on the second floor.

This structure was built between 1931 and 1933 for the Public Health Service. It was designed by a Washington-based architect, Jules Henri de Sibour. Designed primarily as an administrative building, the structure housed the offices of the Surgeon General until 1947 when the PHS vacated for larger quarters. From 1942 until 1945 a portion of the building was occupied by the newly created Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Combined Chiefs of Staff. The building has been occupied by the Atomic Energy Commission, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of the Interior. The Bureau of Indian Affairs moved into the building in 1968. In 1972 the building was the site of the Trial of Broken Treaties demonstration and was occupied by native American protestors. The BIA was later dispersed over several locations. In 1978 the building was renovated extensively and is currently occupied by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office for Surface Mining.

Description Architect
1931 1933 Original Construction Jules Henri de Sibour
1942 Alt. of Conference Room to Situation Room "B" Public Building Administration
1943 Third Story Addition on Center Wing Public Buildings Administration
1964 Replace Roof Gutters and Edge Flashing General Services Administration
1978 Gen'l Renovation and Building Addition General Services Administration
1979 Roof Repair General Services Administration
1980 Roof Replacement General Services Administration
Last Reviewed: 2018-08-01