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On Sept. 9, 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation establishing the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Design work, on HUD's Washington headquarters building at 451 7th St. SW began immediately, with igarcel Breuer as lead architect. The building was designed in the Brutalist architectural stile, built to accommodate 6,000 employees.

Groundbreaking and construction began in 1966 and the building was formally dedicated on Sept. 21, 1968. It contained 700,000 square feet of office space--10 stories above ground and two floors below ground. The final cost came in at $26 million (about $175 million in 2014 dollars), which was almost $5 million below budget.

On July 11, 2000, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo presided over a dedication ceremony officially renaming the building the Robert C. Weaver Federal Building--after economist Weaver, the first secretary of HUD and the first African- American member of a president's Cabinet.

While President Johnson called the building "bold and beautiful" and Weaver himself thought it was "urban and urbane," it was never a favorite with HUD employees or the public. It was criticized for, among other things, its lack of outdoor...

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