CFA 20/NOV/03-10


U.S. Department of Transportation. Southeast Federal Center
M Street and New Jersey Avenue, SE
United States

U.S. General Services Administration
U.S. Department of Transportation. Southeast Federal Center
New headquarters building. Material samples
Review Type


Dear Mr. McGill:

The Commission wishes to thank you and the design team for your presentation on the new Department of Transportation headquarters building in the Southeast Federal Center during our meeting of 20 November and for arranging the tour of the center earlier that day. The one element of the building's design that was presented to the Commission for review was the selection of exterior materials. In that regard, it must be acknowledged that the success of Mr. Grave's design is greatly dependent on the use of color to enliven the building's facades. The members were pleased with the selections presented. We hope that the utmost care will be taken when casting the concrete panels so that the imbedded color is uniform and vivid. Any variations in coloring on the panels, or among the panels, that produces mottled or blotchy appearance will produce an unacceptable result and should be rejected. In addition, every effort should be taken to guarantee that the colors of each material are permanent and not fade over time. The final determination of acceptability will require the erection, on site, of a fairly large-size mockup panel of all the exterior materials, arranged with the same adjacencies as will be found on the building. This mockup should be constructed as soon as possible considering the demanding schedule that has been set for the building's construction.

The members were also pleased with design of the public areas surrounding the building and the incorporation of the transportation themed displays. In fact the Commission encourages the addition of more displays, items and artifacts in the public spaces, particularly along the M Street frontage. Exhibitions, either temporary or permanent, of carefully selected larger objects such as historic trains, aircraft, or similar transportation related material could greatly enrich and enliven the buildings' surroundings for the public.

The Commission looks forward to the submission of future projects in the South East Federal Center and the final review of the material mockup panel for the Department of Transportation building. The staff is available to assist you in the coordination of this review.


Charles H. Atherton

Michael McGill
Special Assistant for Regional Coordination
General Services Administration
301 7th Street, SW- Room 7600
Washington, DC 20407-0001