The Design Excellence Mandate
At the same time, a consistent and essential focus remains: thoughtfully defining project
re q u i rements and selecting the most capable lead designer and A/E team. Another
constant had been the invo l vement of distinguished private-sector professionals in the
disciplines of architecture, urban design, historic preservation, landscape architecture,
interior design, art, art conservation, engineering, and construction--national peers
appointed biennially to the Commissioner's National Register of Peer Professionals--
as voices in the selection of designers and the critique of projects through concept
d e velopment. The insights and expertise of these individuals are invaluable in helping
GSA fulfill its Design Excellence mandate.
What is absolutely clear is that, as it has evo l ved, the Design Excellence approach to
decision-making significantly enhances the success of GSA projects for customers and
the American public. In this context, the managers responsible for GSA commissions
should closely follow these policies and procedures.
In 1962, President John F. Kennedy disseminated Guiding Principles for Fe d e ral Architecture.
These principles stated that the government should (1) produce facilities that reflect
the dignity, enterprise, vigor, and stability of the federal government, emphasizing designs
that embody the finest contemporary architectural thought; (2) avoid an official style;
and (3) incorporate the work of living American artists in public buildings. It was an
and part of a larger body of work representing the best that America's designers and
artists could leave to later generations. Some 40 years later, Design Excellence is making
this aspiration a reality.