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Photograph of people walking outside on a Self-Guided Tour of Capitol Hill
Visitors can tour many highlights on Capitol Hill without registering.

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The Architect of the Capitol’s challenge is unique – maintaining aging, iconic buildings; adapting state-of-the-art technology; and increasing responsiveness to environmental, security and safety considerations in a rich historical setting.
The Architect of the Capitol's challenge is unique – maintaining aging, iconic...

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On April 16, 2013, pursuant to H Res 364, the U.S. House of Representatives...

News & Notices

Bringing History to Life

November 25, 2011

AOC employee handles a Civil War artifact with care
The Capitol Rises During the Civil War Walk through the U.S. Capitol in the winter when a fireplace is working, and the smoky smell of burning wood might transport you to the 1800s, when during the Civil War, the building housed its own bakery to help feed the troops who were temporarily garrisoned for about a month at the Capitol. The fourth Architect of the Capitol, Thomas U. Walter, provided a vivid description of the scene at the Capitol at that time. In May 1861, he wrote to his wife: “There are 4,000 in the Capitol, with all their provisions, ammunition and baggage, and the smell is...

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Architect of the Capitol to Expand Sustainability Programs Capitol-wide

August 04, 2011

Daniel J. Strodel, Chief Administrative Officer for the House of Representatives, and Stephen T. Ayers, AIA, LEED AP, Architect of the Capitol, announced today that the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) will assume and expand the House of Representatives’ sustainability initiatives formerly conducted by the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). This will further improve efficiencies in the effort to reduce energy consumption on Capitol Hill. The CAO’s organization brought a number of sustainability issues to the forefront for the House of Representatives, and identified a number of energy and...

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A Breath of Fresh Air

April 03, 2011

Adjacent to Interstate 295, in DC’s Anacostia neighborhood, hides a labyrinth of greenhouses that are home to some of the world’s most exotic and beautiful plants. The greenhouses form their own world with 17 unique environmental zones where the orchids radiate vibrant colors, the herbs emit a delicious aroma and the holiday spirit is alive year-round among the poinsettias. At the U.S. Botanic Garden’s Production Facility, approximately 30,000 plants are either waiting their turn in the spotlight or retiring for rest and relaxation after their time on display at the Conservatory. Plants at...

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A Century of Service

December 05, 2010

AOC employee at the Capitol Power Plant
This year, the Capitol Power Plant marks 100 years of steady service of steam and chilled water to heat and cool the Capitol. In that century of service, the plant has undergone significant changes as new buildings were built, and more modern and efficient equipment was installed. What hasn’t changed over the years is the commitment of the staff to ensure that the Capitol Power Plant continues to provide these necessary services.   A Brief History   The need for a central heating and electric plant became apparent in the beginning of the 20th century when planning began for the first House...

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Architect of the Capitol Exceeds Small Business Contracting Goals

November 08, 2010

Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers, AIA, LEED AP, announced that the Architect of the Capitol (AOC) exceeded its Small Business Contracting goals for Fiscal Year 2010. During the opening session of the AOC’s Small Business Industry Day on November 5, 2010, Ayers shared the news with local small business owners who attended the event to learn more about doing business with the AOC. “Our organization is very committed to working with and encouraging small businesses to effectively compete for Architect of the Capitol contracts,” said Ayers. “This ensures that we receive the best value...

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Under Grounds: The E Street Garage Band

August 15, 2010

The AOC Capitol Grounds Maintenance Division
Blooming cherry trees, tulips, magnificent oaks and magnolias—these are the images conjured when thinking of the Capitol Grounds. However, there is another side to the Capitol Grounds, one that looks a little different—but is just as beautiful—especially if you like big jobs, big trucks and digging in the dirt. This is a place where you’re unlikely to see many butterflies or a lot of pastel colors—this is a place where words like compacting, blades, grading, grinding and power take precedence.   “I love operating equipment,” says Frank Long, 23-year veteran of the AOC. “Especially the backhoe...

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