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The Architect of the Capitol
  
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October 16, 2008
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The Architect of the Capitol is responsible to the United States Congress for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of the United States Capitol Complex, which includes the Capitol, the congressional office buildings, the Library of Congress buildings, the Supreme Court building, the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Capitol Power Plant, and other facilities.

Until 1989 the position of Architect of the Capitol was filled by Presidential appointment for an indefinite term. Legislation enacted in 1989 provides that the Architect is to be appointed for a term of ten years by the President, with the advice and consent of the Senate, from a list of three candidates recommended by a congressional commission. Upon confirmation by the Senate, the Architect becomes an official of the Legislative Branch as an officer and agent of Congress; he is eligible for reappointment after completion of his term. Mr. Alan Hantman, FAIA, the 10th Architect of the Capitol, was the first Architect to be appointed under the procedure established by this legislation. Following Mr. Hantman's retirement on February 4, 2007, Stephen T. Ayers, AIA, AOC's Deputy Architect/Chief Operating Officer, in accordance with P.L. 108-7, is serving as Acting Architect of the Capitol until a new Architect is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Dr. William Thornton, whose design for the Capitol was selected by President George Washington after a national architectural competition, is honored as the first Architect of the Capitol. Dr. Thornton's assignment was limited to designing and supervising the construction of the new Capitol, under the direction of the Commissioners of the Federal District and the President of the United States. However, the role and responsibilities of the Architect have changed and grown as additional activities have been assigned to the office by Congress. Today, in light of the widespread activities under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol, the administrative function competes heavily with the architectural and engineering functions of the office.


 

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