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Federal Office Building #10

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1963, Holabird and Root. 800 Independence Ave. SW
  • Federal Office Building #10 (© Franz Jantzen)

This building type developed in the late 1930s to accommodate large numbers of federal office workers. Their office functions required no special facilities and federal office buildings of this type could house workers of one bureau as well as another. Standard requirements led to standard buildings and materials; movable interior partitions divided the space into offices of varying sizes. Today, the United States Department of Transportation's Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board occupy the building.

The marble exterior of Federal Office Building #10, one of the most elaborate of these structures, is appropriate to its location on Independence Avenue. At ten stories, it is one of the tallest buildings on the thoroughfare. Set back from the building line and with the top eight floors perched above two stories of glass, nonetheless it exhibits stark, flat detailing that denies it the complexity of neighboring structures. The evenly spaced double windows set in the same plane as the exterior wall are an affirmation of that mode of articulating modular office space that was brought to refinement by Mies van der Rohe at mid-century and later became ubiquitous.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "Federal Office Building #10", [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, 235-236.

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