The Senate's initial office building, inaugurated in 1908, served senators until 1958, when it was replaced by a new one. The most recent office building was completed in 1982. This structure was named for Senator Philip A. Hart and was built as an expansion to the Dirksen Building. It is located on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
The Senate office buildings are a series of six large office structures used by the United States Senate. They are all connected by tunnels that allow for movement between them without being seen from outside corridors. The largest is the Hart Senate Office Building, which is also known as "the bunker." It is so called because it has no windows on the ground floor, allowing any intruders who might reach that level of the building to be instantly detected by security cameras mounted around the perimeter of the room. Ground-floor offices contain supplies stores, coffee shops, restaurants, bars, and other amenities necessary for staff members to work comfortably.
The first three Senate office buildings were designed by Henry I. Flagg and were built in 1908, 1911, and 1916, respectively. These buildings are still in use today and are referred to as the Old Senate Building, Russell Senate Office Building, and Dirksen Senate Office Building, respectively. In 1958, the current Senate office building was completed and opened for business. This building is named for former South Dakota senator and Supreme Court justice Philip A. Hart.
The three Senate office buildings are located north of the Capitol on Constitution Avenue: Senate Office Building Russell (RSOB, completed 1908) Dirksen Senate Office Complex (DSOB, completed in 1958) Senate Office Building Hart (HSOB, completed 1982)'.
"'A fourth building, Humphrey's Tower, now houses the National Archives. The original structure was built in 1856 as a hotel for tourists visiting Congress at its temporary location while construction of the present Capitol building was underway. In 1870, after the end of hostilities with Mexico, the hotel was remodeled in the Italian Renaissance style, and it became known as the United States Hotel. In 1937, after years of neglect during which time it was used as an army barracks, it was restored to its original form as a luxury hotel called the Mayflower Hotel. The hotel closed in 1969 when funding for its final renovation was cut off by Congress."'
The current office buildings were all designed by C. F. A. Meincke in the International Style. They feature glass walls on the first floor to allow views into the legislative chambers, which is rare for government buildings.
The Hart Senate Office Building, located on 2nd Street NE between Constitution Avenue NE and C Street NE in Washington, D.C., is the third U.S. Senate office building. Construction began in January 1975, and the building was completed in November 1982. The $150 million structure was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes of the architectural firm McKim, Mead & White.
It is named after its original tenant, Senator William B. Hart (D-MI). The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1984.
Today, it is home to offices for members of Congress from both parties as well as agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In addition, a large number of judges sit in panels that meet in room XXXIV on the fourth floor. These panels make up the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which is responsible for reviewing applications for orders allowing surveillance to collect foreign intelligence information. The court was established by the Patriot Act and has been operating since 2001.
It is composed of three parts: an entrance lobby with security screening; a corridor lined with private offices for senators and their staff; and a balcony overlooking the main hall where meetings are held. A spiral staircase leads from the balcony down to the second floor, where there is a more extensive collection of committee rooms.
On March 4, 1789, the United States Senate met for the first time in an opulent second-floor chamber of New York City's recently rebuilt Federal Hall. On that day, just eight of the 22 qualified members (representing the 11 states that had previously approved the Constitution) were present. The remaining four members did not arrive until July 25. The Senate convened every three days until the end of 1790 when it was determined that more frequent meetings would be too expensive and out of touch for a body composed primarily of elected officials who could hold office for only three years.
The current Senate Chamber was built between 1846 and 1850 by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and Benjamin Henry Latrobe. It was originally known as the Old Senate Chamber because the new Congress met in it for the first time on February 1, 1851. It remains today as the meeting place of the world's oldest continuous sitting legislative body.
Over the years, many famous people have walked its halls. Chief Justice John Roberts and his wife, Cynthia, were married here in 2005. So was former President Bill Clinton in 1993 when he came before a joint session of Congress to ask for authorization for use of military force against Iraq's Saddam Hussein. In 1971, Senator Robert Kennedy gave a speech here after being nominated for president at the California Democratic Convention. And in 1913, Senator William Borah of Idaho delivered the keynote address at the opening session of the World Peace Conference held in Paris under the sponsorship of the American government.