PAHO HQ Turns 40
The landmark Washington, D.C., building that serves as PAHO's U.S. headquarters celebrated its 40th anniversary during this year's Directing Council meeting.
Inaugurated in September 1965, the building provided the first permanent home for all of PAHO's U.S.-based staff, at the time about 300 people. It was designed by Uruguayan architect Roman Fresnedo Siri, who won a hemisphere-wide competition.
The building presented special architectural challenges because of legal height constraints (Washington buildings were not supposed to exceed 90 feet in height) and the triangular shape of the one-acre plot of land. Some contemporary observers referred to the building as a "little U.N." for its resemblance to United Nations headquarters in New York.
The U.S. government donated the building site, at the time valued at $1.1 million, while the W. K. Kellogg Foundation donated $5 million to finance construction. The Kellogg donation was considered a "loan" to be paid back by PAHO member governments through their quota contributions to support the organization's work.
Located near the famous Watergate complex, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the U.S. State Department, PAHO headquarters continues to be a unique architectural feature of the Washington, D.C., landscape.
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