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AIA Applauds House Select Committee on Congressional Modernization for Unanimously Approving Architect Recommendations

The American Institute of Architects applauds the House Select Committee on Congressional Modernization for unanimously approving a slate of recommendations, including many of the recommendations made by Katie Irwin, AIA, in testimony on March 17.

Though Select Committee recommendations are not binding, this is a clear sign Irwin’s testimony, on behalf of AIA, is being heard and heeded on Capitol Hill as the Congressional Members consider ways to update and improve their office space/ practices.

“Promoting effective, collaborative, and healthy workplaces on Capitol Hill supports good governance, which benefits all of us,” said Katie Irwin, AIA. “We can be good stewards of these historic spaces while sensitively integrating modern updates to facilitate the technology-fueled pace of work.” Approved recommendations made by Irwin include:

  • Improve navigating the campus: To improve wayfinding, the House should consult with internal and external experts to assess and implement navigation improvements necessary to make it easier for visitors to find their way through the Capitol campus.
  • Digital displays for hearings and events: The House should provide digital signage displaying information about current public hearings and events.
  • Inventory existing space: The House should study the use of its space to understand how it is used, who controls access to various spaces, and how it is managed in the House and the Capitol.
  • Offer expanded options for meeting space: The House should establish and designate shared meeting spaces that will allow for members and staff to use on a drop-in basis and not require reservations.
  • Portal for all reservable space: The House should develop an app and expand the current web portal to include all reservable space in the Capitol and House Office Buildings.
  • Flexible and modern member office templates: The CAO should provide a broad menu of furniture options and templates for member office space that considers modern and flexible design and function concepts.
  • Flex hearing space: The House should identify and develop a space that can be used to hold hearings with alternative seating formats such as a roundtable-style.

Irwin, a Senior Associate at Quinn Evans, provided the bipartisan committee with a starting point to assess and develop improvements to the U.S. Capitol and its campus. Additionally, her testimony provided insights on balancing the historic nature of the buildings—its character-defining features, spaces and finishes—with the demands of a 21st century office, including enabling better workspaces for virtual meetings. Irwin also highlighted the importance of sound attenuation, increasing access to daylight, incorporating activity-based planning, as well as improving wayfinding and accessibility.

Full set of adopted recommendations can be viewed here.

About AIA

Founded in 1857, AIA consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through more than 200 international, state and local chapters, AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing.

AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards.

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