Docomomo DC Snapshot: Hubert Humphrey Building
In the 1920s, Marcel Breuer went from Bauhaus student to Bauhaus instructor, before eventually becoming one of the twentieth century's most prominent Modernist architects. One of his last designs was DC's Hubert Humphrey Building, which houses the Department of Health and Human Services, accomplished with assistance from his partner Herbert Beckhard and Nolen-Swinburne and Associates. A striking Brutalist design of concrete and granite, the building was finished in 1977 and is set back from the street to maintain views of the U.S. Capitol. Photo by Gunnar Klack via Flickr.
"One of the challenges posed by the site was the Interstate-395 3rd Street Tunnel, which runs directly beneath the HHS building. This was one of the first projects in the District of Columbia to utilize air rights in order to construct over the tunnel and resulted in an early building nickname, the ‘Air Rights Building.’ The site design for the building also includes a large open plaza fronting Independence Avenue across from the National Mall. The building is set back from Independence Avenue allowing views of the Rayburn House Office Building and Bartholdi Fountain Park. ... The Hubert H. Humphrey Building was constructed with precast concrete panels fitted into a poured concrete frame. Double and single window panes alternate, with each window placed in a deep recess to produce a monumental and modern box-like building."