Letter to the Administrator of General Services Concerning the Design of Proposed Buildings on Lafayette Square.
Dear Mr. Floete:
The Congress has recently enacted, and I have approved, an appropriation act which provides for the design and construction of several federal buildings throughout the United States. I have a particular interest in the design of two of these buildings which are to be located on Lafayette Square near the White House. One of these buildings is to house certain court facilities on the east side of the Square, and the other is to provide additional space for the Executive Office of the President on the west side of the Square.
It is extremely important that the architectural plans for these buildings be carried out with the greatest of thought and with attention to the present and future dignity and beauty of Lafayette Square and its historic past. Because this is a splendid opportunity to revive the historical and architectural significance of this Square, I earnestly request that all preliminary plans and thinking in connection with these buildings be developed in close consultation with the National Capital Planning Commission and the Commission of fine Arts.
It would be also advisable that whoever the architect may be, he will approach the planning not only with his attention and inspiration fixed upon the dignity and simplicity of some of the older buildings--the White House, St. John's Church, the Treasury and Decatur House--but also taking into account the planning for the west side of the Square as it develops.
We should use this opportunity to leave Lafayette Square for posterity as an architectural symbol of the simplicity, beauty and clean lines traditional to the American style.
Funds for the construction of a building for the courts on the east side of the Square are appropriated for the fiscal year 1961, and I understand that it will be possible to develop plans for federal Office No. 7 in sufficient time to permit construction funds to be included in the 1962 budget.
I am sending a copy of this letter to the Chairman of the National Capital Planning Commission and to the Chairman of the Commission of fine Arts.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
Note: The letter was released at the U.S. Naval Base, Newport, R.I.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to the Administrator of General Services Concerning the Design of Proposed Buildings on Lafayette Square. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/235091