Architect of the Capitol

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Architect of the Capitol

Established as a permanent office in 1876 (40U.S.C.A. §§ 162, 163), the architect of the capitol oversees the mechanical and structural maintenance of the Capitol, the conservation and care of works of art in the building, the upkeep and improvement of the Capitol grounds, and the arrangement of inaugural and other ceremonies held in the building or on the grounds. In addition, the architect is responsible for the upkeep of all the congressional office buildings, the Library of Congress buildings, the U.S. Supreme Court building, the Federal Judiciary Building, the Capitol Power Plant, the Capitol Police headquarters, and the Robert A. Taft Memorial. The architect also serves as the acting director of the U.S. Botanic Garden.

The functions of the architect have become increasingly administrative, and the architectural or engineering dimensions less important. Special projects carried out by the architect include building renovation and restoration, including installation of broadcasting and security equipment in the Capitol.

Before 1989, the position of architect of the capitol was filled for an indefinite term by presidential appointment. Legislation enacted in 1989 (Pub. L. No. 101-163, 103 Stat. 1068 [codified at 40 U.S.C.A. § 162–1]) provided that the architect be appointed for a ten-year term by the president, with the advice and consent of the Senate, from a list of three candidates recommended by a congressional commission. Upon confirmation by the Senate, the architect becomes an official of the legislative branch as an officer and agent of Congress and is eligible for reappointment after completion of a term.

Further readings

U.S. Government Manual Website. Available online at <> (accessed November 10, 2003).