Federal Home Loan Bank Board

This 1970s era office building sparked controversy after its builders demolished historic spaces on G Street. It now stands as a modern landmark.

In March of 1974, wreckers were sent to the site of the future Federal Home Loan Bank Board Building to clear space for a new government structure. Despite hopes to add multiple buildings in the historic streetscape to the National Register, builders permanently damaged (and destroyed) the majority of the properties. Immediately afterwards, a citizen's group named Don't Tear It Down (now the DC Preservation League) sued the General Services Administration (GSA) for ordering the demolition. 

Ultimately the GSA won the case. However, following the negative reaction to the destruction, the agency attempted to incorporate further citizen input in their continuing construction of the new building. The design plans for the building were influenced by the then-popular Brutalist architectural movement, which produced stark, concrete buildings that often didn't incorporate well into the surrounding DC streetscape. Following the demolition controversy, architects at Max Urbahn Associates and Sasaki Associates created a design that respected nearby historic buildings and attempted to incorporate community elements into the architectural plans. 

At six stories tall with two perpendicular wings, the building forms an L shape. This angular design utilizes geometric shapes and glass windows to mimic surrounding structures. The entry lobby features, such as the circular staircase and wood paneling, flow seamlessly from the building’s exterior. Commercial spaces form the first floor with office spaces filling the rest of the interior. The second through sixth floors contain cubicle offices, meeting spaces, and two atria that extend from a skylight on the sixth floor. The second floor also contains a small auditorium. An exterior plaza once functioned as an employee courtyard with an ice rink, reflecting pool, and numerous tables for congregating.

Since its opening in the 1970s, the building has remained an office space with minor alterations to the exterior and interior. Today, the building is home to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

DC Inventory: June 23, 2016
National Register: October 11, 2016

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1700 G Street NW Washington DC 20006