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Federal building

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Federal Building of Sacramento, California

A federal building is a building housing local offices of various government departments and agencies in countries with a federal system, especially when the central government is referred to as the "federal government".

There are design issues specific to federal buildings, relating to their multipurpose functions and concerns related to the fact of their association with the government. For example, as symbols of the government, they may potentially be focus of protests or threats, so there are security issues. Also environmental impacts and environmentally sound design may be more important.

A committee set up by President John F. Kennedy in 1962 issued "Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture". Towards improving design of federal buildings in the United States, "the committee recommended architecture that would convey the 'dignity, enterprise, vigor, and stability of the American Government.' Designers and officials were encouraged to pay special attention to site selection and layout, including landscape development."[1]

Some architects specialize in federal building designs.[2]

History

The first U.S. Federal building authorized by the U.S. Congress in 1807, with an appropriation of $20,000 to build, in New Orleans, a post office, courthouse, or custom house.[3]

Historically, the authorization and construction of the first federally-funded building in a small town often has been a major event. Sometimes these were simply a post office or a courthouse; often they were combination buildings.

The Treasury Department of the U.S. established a Department of Construction office in 1852. From 1864 on the Office of the Supervising Architect handled design of federal buildings.[3]

William Gibbs McAdoo, the Secretary of the Treasury from 1913-1918, and the Supervising Architect at the time, James A. Wetmore promoted standardization of government building design. They instituted the policy that buildings were to be designed with "scale, materials and finishes" that directly reflected their "location, prominence and income".[4][5] This push to standardization of public building design was in conflict with the Tarsney Act,[5] which permitted private architects to design federal buildings after being selected in a competition under the supervision of the Supervising Architect. The act, under which several prior buildings were designed, was repealed in 1913 as it was felt that designing building with government architects would most efficiently cause the desired standardization.[5]

Buildings were to be designed with specific criteria, A "Class A" building was one which was on a major street of a major city, surrounding by expensive building and expected to generate at least $800,000 in revenue. These buildings would have marble or granite exteriors, marble interiors, ornamental bronze, and other similar fixtures.[5]

A small post office with revenue of under $15,000 would be made of brick, with standard wood windows and doors and would appear "ordinary". Critics felt the system would make public buildings too plain.[5]

The growth of cities and government functions has led to the need for large multipurpose highrise federal buildings. An example is the 32-story $120 million construction in Cleveland of the Anthony J. Celebrezze Federal Building.[6]

In the United States, multipurpose federal buildings are generally managed by the U.S. General Services Administration. The GSA recognized its top 20 federal buildings in 2014.[7]

United States

Notable buildings in the United States that have been termed "federal building" include:

Alabama

Alaska

Arkansas

California

Colorado

Connecticut

Florida

Georgia

Hawaii

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

Kansas

Kentucky

Louisiana

Michigan

Missouri

Montana

Nebraska

Nevada

New Jersey

New Mexico

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Oklahoma

Oregon

Rhode Island

South Carolina

South Dakota

Tennessee

Texas

Vermont

Virginia

Washington

Washington, D.C.

West Virginia

Wisconsin

Wyoming

Canada

Complexe Guy-Favreau, Montréal, Québec

Notable Federal buildings in Canada include:

See also

References

  1. ^ "U.S. Tax Court Building, Washington, DC". General Services Administration.
  2. ^ "Optimizing Building Space and Material Use in Federal Building Designs". May 12, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Architecture and Government". General Services Administration.
  4. ^ "James Alfonso Wetmore (Lawyer)". washington.edu. Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e Lee, Antoinette J. (April 20, 2000). Architects to the Nation: The Rise and Decline of the Supervising Architect's Office. Oxford University Press. pp. 222–232. ISBN 9780195351866.
  6. ^ "Cleveland Federal Building First High-rise Under Glass". IdeaStream. April 14, 2016.
  7. ^ "20 Federal Buildings Honored as Nation's Top in Design and Architecture". 2014.
  8. ^ [1]
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