The design and execution of the HUD building exemplifies the primary tenets of the Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture.
Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture Issued
During his inaugural parade in January 1961, President John F. Kennedy noticed the blighted condition of the buildings lining Pennsylvania Avenue. As a result, the Ad Hoc Committee on Federal Office Space was formed to advise the president on government space needs. In 1962, the committee issued its findings, which included a report on the Guiding Principles of Federal Architecture. The committee found that federal office space was inefficient and wasteful, and that problems included “overcrowding, poor lighting, and poor ventilation [which were] not conducive to efficient work performance . . .” In an attempt to improve federal buildings, the committee recommended architecture that would convey the “dignity, enterprise, vigor, and stability of the American Government.”
Though some were heeded, the committee’s recommendations were open to the interpretation of GSA officials responsible for design and construction. There was noticeable improvement to federal building design in Washington, but it does not appear that the initiative saw widespread implementation in other regions. Regardless, the 1960s was a major construction era for federal buildings, which continued to emulate their private counterparts.