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"Rather Strong Advisory:" the 1960s and the Challenge of the FBI Building

Series: Power, Architecture, and Politics: The Design of Washington and the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts Symposium
Presented By: Zachary Schrag, associate professor of history, George Mason University
Date Recorded: May 19, 2010
Duration: 0:41:31

This lecture will explore the work of Kennedy’s commissioners in the years following his death. It will pay particular attention to the Commission’s review of the design for the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters, known since 1975 as the J. Edgar Hoover Building. With its enormous budget, powerful client, and prominent place on the redeveloped Pennsylvania Avenue, the FBI building should have been a proud addition to federal Washington. Instead, it has been almost universally condemned since its completion, with Hoover himself reportedly calling it “the greatest monstrosity ever constructed in the history of Washington.”

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