Pan American Health Organization Building Nominated for Landmark Status

PAHO Headquarters Today

DCPL kicked off 2020 by filing a landmark nomination for the Modernist Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) headquarters!e 1965 PAHO building is distinctive for its dramatic Modernist design as well as for the history and achievements of the distinguished organization it houses. It is located at 525 23rd Street NW.

From this building, PAHO has led campaigns for improving health and fighting infectious diseases that have affected all the peoples of the Americas. The Pan American Health Organization was founded in 1902 and is the world’s oldest international public health agency. Its core mission is to strengthen national and local health systems and improve health outcomes for all people in the Americas.

The PAHO building embodies the distinguishing characteristics of the Modernist architectural style and represents a unique building type associated with the headquarters of large organizations. It also epitomizes the materials and methods of construction associated with the mid-20th century, including the use of pre-cast concrete and an innovative steel-frame technique to create the large, open Congress Hall auditorium in the building’s annex. It also represents the unique role of Washington in hosting and supporting large international organizations. The building possesses high artistic value and is a notable work of a key Modernist architect, Román Fresnedo Siri.

PAHO Headquarters under construction c. 1964

The PAHO building retains a high degree of structural integrity with only minimal modifications since its initial construction. The building is significant under DC Criteria B (History), D (Architecture and Urbanism), E (Artistry), and F (Work of a Master) and similar National Register Criteria A and C. It has local, national, and international significance.

The full landmark nomination is published here. We look forward to presenting the case for landmark designation of this important building to the DC Historic Preservation Review Board.