Foley Square Federal Office Building

Ted Weiss Federal Building


Designed by Hellmuth, Obata & Kassabaum, was designed to be among the most energy-efficient buildings in its class. Construction was delayed by the African Burial Ground which inspired the artwork commissioned for the building. The building is named for Ted Weiss, deceased Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives from New York. In October 1991, intact burials of human remains were discovered during an archeological survey and excavation. The agency had done an environmental impact statement (EIS) prior to purchase of the site, but the archeological survey had predicted that human remains would not be found because of the long history of urban development in that area.Initially, GSA had planned full archeological retrieval of the remains as full mitigation of the effects of its construction project on the burial ground. Within the year, its teams removed the remains of 420 persons from the site, but it had become clear that the extent of the burial ground was too large to be fully excavated. In 1992, activists staged a protest at the site about GSA's handling of the burial issue, especially when it was found that some intact burials were broken up during construction excavation at part of the site.GSA halted construction until the site could be thoroughly assessed. It provided additional funding to conduct a further archaeological excavation to reveal any other bodies on the site and to assess the remains. After controversy and negotiations, the plans were modified and the design for the pavilion was removed from the building plans. In lieu of the pavilion, a 50-foot high interior arcade with a vaulted top was constructed.

Constructed, 1994

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