Restoration Nation

The Senate starts its search for a new Architect of the Capitol

National News Preservation Professional Practice
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee announced its plans to begin the search for a new Architect of the Capitol after Stephen T. Ayers announced his retirement after nearly a decade in office. Shown here: Capitol Dome restoration, July 2016 (Courtesy Architect of the Capitol/Flickr)
The Senate Rules and Administration Committee announced its plans to begin the search for a new Architect of the Capitol after Stephen T. Ayers announced his retirement after nearly a decade in office. Shown here: Capitol Dome restoration, July 2016 (Courtesy Architect of the Capitol/Flickr)

Know any architects looking for an extremely high-profile government job?

Okay, so maybe not everyone wants to work for the federal government right now (thanks, 31-day government shutdown). Nevertheless, the search for a new Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is officially underway, reports Roll Call.

Anyone who seeks to fill the position will be responsible for overseeing a multitude of preservation and maintenance projects on the Capitol’s campus. A few of those include the $752 million renewal of the Cannon House Office Building, the oldest structure on site, as well as updates to the Beaux Arts–style Russell Senate Office Building, also built over a century ago.

Photo of Canon House Office Building Washington DC

The Cannon House Office Building just began a 10-year, full-scale rehabilitation effort. Shown here: December 2018 (Courtesy Architect of the Capitol/Flickr)

The AOC will also be in charge of rehabilitating the Senate Underground Garage and Senate Park, both under construction through 2020, as well as overseeing the continued facade work on the Capitol Building itself. Not only that, he or she will manage all upgrades and maintenance to the Capitol Visitor Center, the Supreme Court Building, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Botanic Garden, and the Capitol Grounds.

That’s 18.4 million square feet of federal facilities including 190 structures and 580 acres of landscape sprawled across Capitol Hill.

Did we mention it’s full-time?

The position is a 10-year term, currently held by Stephen T. Ayers. Nominated in 2010 by President Obama, Ayers oversaw the three-year, $59.5 million restoration of the Capitol Dome, which wrapped up in 2016. Ayers announced his retirement in late November and is leaving behind over $1 billion of deferred maintenance work and a $733 million budget for the new AOC to takeover. 

The hunt for a new leader is being spearheaded by the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, a 14-person group that includes the Speaker of the House, the President pro tempore, the majority and minority leaders from both chambers, the chairs and ranking members of the House Administration and Senate Rules Committees, as well as the Appropriations Committee members from both chambers.

The group is working with an executive search firm to find three candidates to recommend to President Trump. Once the president makes his pick, the Senate must officially confirm his or her appointment.

The confirmed nominee will become the 12th Architect of the Capitol in U.S. history. Several past officeholders were actually not registered architects, which still isn’t a requirement to fill the position.

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