2012 National Planning Excellence Awards: Planning Landmark

Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture

U.S. General Services Administration

Federal buildings dot the landscape of cities and towns all across America, and are often the most visible interaction between people and their government. In 1962, Daniel Patrick Moynihan included in his memo on federal office space to President John F. Kennedy the Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture. Moynihan championed good design and wrote, "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."

Fifty years later, the Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture are still inspiring and shaping the mission of the Public Buildings Service and have become the cornerstone of the General Services Administration's Design Excellence Program. They have elevated attention to design and the integration of planning, architecture, public art and the landscape into a public realm of beauty and utility.