Social Security Administration (Wilbur J. Cohen Building)

The Wilbur Cohen Federal Building is one of the last buildings constructed under the extensive Federal office construction program of the 1920s and 1930s.

The Wilbur J. Cohen Building, formerly the Social Security Administration Building, is a monumental presence amongst significant public buildings on the National Mall. The building is part of the modern architectural movement of the first half of the twentieth century, while harking back to nineteenth century revivalism in its organization and detailing. Charles Z. Klauder (1872-1938), consulting architect under the supervision of then Supervising Architect of the Treasury, Louis A. Simon (1867-1958), designed the building with block-like massing, planar wall surfaces and simple geometric forms that are reflective of classically influenced modern styles that dominated the design of public buildings during the 1930s and 1940s.

Constructed between 1939 and 1940, the Social Security Administration Building is primarily clad in Indiana limestone and rises five stories with a sixth floor penthouse/recreational space. The interior of the building falls more clearly into Art Moderne characteristics through the use of sharp contrasts between materials, clean geometric forms, and shiny and smooth-textured materials. Today, Voice of America and the US Agency for Global Media occupy the building.

DC Inventory: April 26, 2007
National Register: July 6, 2007



330 Independence Avenue SW