Rayburn House Office Building
In 1955, Speaker Sam Rayburn grasped the need to expand and rethink the House’s workspaces. The years following World War II brought many changes to Congress—both in the business needing attention, and the ways that work was done. Rayburn pushed the idea of a big, modern building that would reflect the evolving needs of the institution as well as changing ideas about progress and style dominating the design aesthetics of the mid-20th century.
Rayburn’s influence let the House bypass some of the usual formalities of planning. Though he first proposed a preliminary study to decide how to approach the construction of a new office building, he later switched to a more daring tactic. He proposed that construction begin immediately, cutting through the standard bureaucratic processes. The Appropriations Committee agreed, and the Rayburn House Office building was underway.