Government Accountability Office (formerly General Accounting Office)

Known as the “congressional watchdog,” the U.S. Government Accountability Office serves as an important federal government agency.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) -- formerly named the General Accounting Office -- provides auditing, evaluation, and investigation for the United States Congress. Its headquarters occupies nearly all of Square 518, bounded by G, H, Fourth, and Fifth streets NW. The exterior of the seven-story building is characterized by simple geometric forms, overall symmetry, a horizontal emphasis in building elements, and minimal applied decorative detailing. Built between 1949 and 1951, the design and massing of the GAO Building exhibits conservative modernism; this modern aesthetic, seen in federal buildings around World War II, presents pure geometric forms that express the building’s function with limited ornamentation. 

Similarly, the interior spaces derive their character from the handling of shapes and materials, rather than from decorative elements. The GAO Building also embodies a distinctive form through its method of construction and plan, which served as a model that would be followed for both government and private office buildings throughout DC in the postwar decades. 

National Register: September 25, 1995



441 G Street NW