The policy shall be to provide requisite and adequate facilities in an architectural style and form
which is distinguished and which will reflect the dignity, enterprise, vigor and stability of the American
National Government. Major emphasis should be placed on the choice of designs that embody the
finest contemporary American architectural thought. Specific attention should be paid to the
possibilities of incorporating into such designs qualities which reflect the regional architectural
traditions of that part of the Nation in which buildings are located. Where appropriate, fine art should
be incorporated in the designs, with emphasis on the work of living American artists. Designs shall
adhere to sound construction practice and utilize materials, methods and equipment of proven depend-
ability. Buildings shall be economical to build, operate and maintain, and should be accessible to the
The development of an official style must be avoided. Design must flow from the architectural
profession to the Government, and not vice versa. The Government should be willing to pay some
additional cost to avoid excessive uniformity in design of Federal buildings. Competitions for the
design of Federal buildings may be held where appropriate. The advice of distinguished architects,
as a rule, ought to be sought prior to the award of important design contracts.
The choice and development of the building site should be considered the first step of the design
process. This choice should be made in cooperation with local agencies. Special attention should be
paid to the general ensemble of streets and public places of which Federal buildings will form a part.
Where possible, buildings should be located so as to permit a generous development of landscape.
-- Daniel Patrick Moynihan
General Design Philosophy
Revised March 2005 PBS-P100