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GSA holds March Madness contest--for federal buildings

Fans of architecture, design and photography, take note.

The General Services Administration is sponsoring a creative March Madness contest this week on its Facebook page and in the GSA Blog—but instead of basketball teams in the 16 brackets the agency is asking people to vote for their favorite federal buildings.

It’s a fun idea, and GSA officials thoughtfully put together gorgeous photographs of the 16 federal buildings up for inspection. Their designs range through a wide variety of styles, including the beaux art facade of the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House in New York and modern curved glass of the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston. There are also a couple of notable examples of federal “Green buildings,” which are energy-efficient buildings, in the mix.

The contest’s Facebook Timeline format is perhaps not the easiest to execute on. It was a little unclear exactly how and where to vote when I looked at the contest today.

Also, federal buildings are big and impressive, but not well known even in their hometowns. For example, I’ve lived in Washington for over a decade and have never heard of the James L. Whitten Federal Building, although if you told me it was the USDA’s headquarters I would recognize it.

Looks like the GSA is going to have to give this contest a big sales push to get it going. Just a handful of votes have been cast to date.

The contest seems to be a somewhat lighthearted effort by GSA to spotlight notable federal architecture, but if lots of votes start coming in, it potentially could serve a more serious purpose and possibly could influence future federal design competitions.

Posted by Alice Lipowicz on Mar 20, 2012 at 7:25 PM


Reader Comments

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 Ori

The GSA Blog http://gsablogs.gsa.gov/gsablog/2012/03/19/federal-building-bracket-challenge-2012/ now includes direct links to vote on each matchup. Hope that clears things up some

Wed, Mar 21, 2012 USA Michigan

Can't do "Facebook" or "Blog" So, out of the 16 pixs, here's my votes: #1 is definately Hamilton Bldg. NY,NY beautiful architecture/design! next: Looks like a PRISON: Bean Fed Ctr (Indy)and King Bldg (GA); next: Far too much GLASS: Arraj Court-house(CO), Moakley (MA); Morse Bldg (OR);and Dirksen (IL). last: Did Aliens designed Whitaker Court-house in Kansas? Doesn't fit with the other buildings from what I saw. More comments: The Hamilton Bldg in NY looks quite like the old County Courthouse located in Detroit, MI. Always loved the architecture and design of that grand old building in the heart of downtown Detroit.

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