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Encyclopedia > Dirksen Senate Office Building

This Washington, DC congressional office building is named for former Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL). Aerial photo (looking NW) of the Washington Monument and the White House in Washington, DC. Washington, D.C., officially the District of Columbia (also known as D.C.; Washington; the Nations Capital; the District; and, historically, the Federal City) is the capital city and administrative district of the United... Everett McKinley Dirksen Everett McKinley Dirksen (January 4, 1896 – September 7, 1969) was a Republican U.S. Congressman and Senator from Illinois. ...


The Dirksen Senate Office Building was the second office building constructed for members of the United States Senate and was named after the late Minority Leader in 1972. Seal of the Senate The United States Senate is one of the two houses of the Congress of the United States, the other being the House of Representatives. ... In U.S. politics, the minority leader is the floor leader of the second-largest caucus in a legislative body. ...


On the eve of America’s entry into World War II, in 1941, the U.S. Senate authorized the Architect of the Capitol to prepare plans for a second Senate Office Building. The federal government’s expanded role nationally and internationally beginning in the 1930s raised new issues for senatorial action, which in turn required increased staff assistance and created crowded conditions in the Capitol and the original Senate Office Building. When the Second World War delayed implementation of the Senate’s building plans, the space problems grew increasingly urgent. Soon after the war, Congress passed the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946, in order to modernize and streamline its operations and provide senators and committees with professional staff assistance. To house the additional staff, the Senate resorted to renting space in nearby building. Moreover, with the anticipated admission of Alaska and Hawaii as states, four new senators would also require office space. As pressure for more space mounted, the Senate in 1948 acquired property on which to erect a second office building in order to accommodate the enlarged staff. Mushroom cloud from the nuclear explosion over Nagasaki rising 18 km (over 11 miles) into the air, August 9, 1945 after the Allied atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. ... A congress is a gathering of people, especially a gathering for a political purpose. ...


Consulting architects Otto R. Eggers and Daniel Paul Higgins of New York drew the plans for a seven-story building faced in white marble, to be located across First Street from the Old Senate Office Building and diagonally across the Capitol grounds from the Senate wing of the Capitol. Although more streamlined and less ornate, the new building was designed to harmonize with the Capitol and the first Senate Office Building. Bronze spandrels between the third and fourth-floor windows depicted scenes from American industry: Shipping, Farming, Manufacturing, Mining and Lumbering. Below the new building’s west pediment is the inscription: “The Senate is the Living Symbol of Our Union of States.”


Although the Senate approved the plans for the new building in1949, construction was delayed until 1956. By then, increased costs of construction caused some scaling back of the original design, including the elimination of a planned central corridor. With Architect of the Capitol J. George Stewart looking on, members of the Senate Office Building Commission laid the corner-stone on July 13, 1956, and the new office building opened on October 15, 1958. United States Capitol The Architect of the Capitol is responsible to the United States Congress for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of the United States Capitol Complex, which includes the Capitol, the congressional office buildings, the Library of Congress buildings, the United States Supreme Court building, the United States...


The Dirksen Building was designed to accomodate the television era, complete with committee hearing rooms equipped with rostrums that were better suited to listening to testimony that sitting around conference tables, as had been done in previous committee rooms, both in the U.S. Capitol and the Russell Senate Office Building. United States Capitol The United States Capitol is the building which serves as home for the legislative branch of the United States government. ... This photograph, taken from southwest of the building, shows the main entrance along Constitution Avenue, N.E. The Russell Senate Office Building (built 1903-1908) is the oldest of the United States Senate office buildings as well as a significant example of the Beaux Arts style of architecture. ...


The building was renovated during 1999-2000 under the auspices of the Architect of the Capitol, who at the time was Alan M. Hantman, FAIA. Day-to-day supervision of the project carried out by Assistant Architect Michael G. Turnbull, FAIA. The renovation was well-received by Senators and their staff. Senator Robert Bennett, Chairman of the Senate Legislative Branch Subcommittee, made the following comments regarding the renovation: United States Capitol The Architect of the Capitol is responsible to the United States Congress for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of the United States Capitol Complex, which includes the Capitol, the congressional office buildings, the Library of Congress buildings, the United States Supreme Court building, the United States... Acronym used as a postnomial designating an individual who is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. ... Michael G. Turnbull, FAIA (April 13, 1949 - ) is an architect who has spent much of his career in the public sector as a custodian of major public buildings, notably the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC as the Assistant Architect of the Capitol and as the Director of Design and... Acronym used as a postnomial designating an individual who is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. ...


"When I came here, the Dirksen Building was considered the low-rent district, and Senators would start their careers in the Dirksen Building and then move out as quickly as they possibly could. I have nostalgia for the Dirksen Building because this is where my father had his office, and I was very content to stay here . . . . Now that it has been renovated--and mine was the first suite to be renovated--I consider that we are in the high-rent district.


". . . thank you for the truly well thought out way in which this building is being renovated. It is now work space that will serve the needs of the Senators for another 50 years. It is roughly 50 years since the Dirksen Building was conceived, and I am sure that we will get our monies worth out of it."


  Results from FactBites:
 
U.S. Senate: Visitors Center Home > Maps > Senate Dirksen Office Building (1072 words)
Although the Senate approved the plans for the new building in1949, construction was delayed until 1956.
To transport senators to the Capitol, a new subway and pedestrian tunnel was constructed to both the old and new Senate office building.
An Illinois Republican, Senator Dirksen had served in the House from 1933 to 1949 and in the Senate from 1951 to 1969.
Dirksen Senate Office Building Undergoing Stealth Renovation Project (1136 words)
The Dirksen Senate Office Building Renovation Project is often referred to as the "Stealth Renovation Project" because, aside from those temporarily dislocated, the work has been going on almost without being noticed.
Senators' office suites are temporarily housed in the Russell or Hart Senate Office Building.
When completed, the Dirksen Senate Office Building will again be state of the art--at about a third the cost of constructing a new building to contemporary codes and specifications.
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