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Federal Office Building, Department of State

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1986–1990, Leo A. Daly Associates. 3507 International Pl. NW
  • Federal Office Building, Department of State (Franz Jantzen)

The State Department's administrative center for the adjacent chanceries as well as for those located elsewhere in the city was conceived by its architect as a town hall with architectural antecedents that were generically early twentieth-century American. The composition of its facade is highly formal—two symmetrical wings arranged around a recessed entry. The whole building is a three-story cubic block; all facades are treated alike, with low, wide central pediments and the red barrel clay tile roof giving it a decidedly Mediterranean look. The architectural language is an abstract version of classicism, with the Renaissance tradition contributing its major features. The building material is cast stone treated to resemble stuccoed walls with most horizontal joins masked to give the appearance of continuous surfaces. Scoring of the walls in discrete areas into rectilinear panels is unrelated to structure but an effective proportioning device that visually breaks down the building's large mass. The middle story is articulated with triple windows reminiscent of the Palladian motif, and top-floor windows form a continuous band of green solar-glass window wall, faceted to form recessed octagonal bays that hark back to window shapes of Victorian row houses. Green aluminum for the narrow window frames makes an elegant transition between sand-colored walls and green glass.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Federal Office Building, Department of State", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 372-373.

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