Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture
In the course of its consideration of the general subject of Federal office space, the committee has
given some thought to the need for a set of principles which will guide the Government in the choice of
design for Federal buildings. The committee takes it to be a matter of general understanding that the
economy and suitability of Federal office design space derive directly from the architectural design.
The belief that good design is optional, or in some way separate from the question of the provision of
office space itself, does not bear scrutiny, and in fact invites the least efficient use of public money.
The design of Federal office buildings, particularly those to be located in the nation's capital, must
meet a two-fold requirement. First, it must provide efficient and economical facilities for the use of
Government agencies. Second, it must provide visual testimony to the dignity, enterprise, vigor and
stability of the American Government.
It should be our object to meet the test of Pericles' evocation to the Athenians, which the President
commended to the Massachusetts legislature in his address of January 9, 1961: "We do not imitate
for we are a model to others."
The committee is also of the opinion that the Federal Government, no less than other public and
private organizations concerned with the construction of new buildings, should take advantage of the
increasingly fruitful collaboration between architecture and the fine arts. With these objects in view,
the committee recommends a three point architectural policy for the Federal Government.
08 F A C I L I T I E S S T A N D A R D S
1.2 General Design Philosophy
Revised March 2005 PBS-P100