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West Wing

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Title: West Wing  
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Subject: White House, Roosevelt Room, White House Office, Articles for deletion/Charlie Young, East Wing
Collection: McKim, Mead, and White Buildings, White House
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West Wing

The West Wing (in foreground)
The White House Complex.

The West Wing of the White House, also known as the Executive Office Building, houses the offices of the President of the United States.[1] The West Wing contains the Oval Office,[2] the Cabinet Room,[3] the Situation Room,[4] and the Roosevelt Room.[5]

The West Wing's three floors contain offices for the White House Chief of Staff, the Counselor to the President, the Senior Advisor to the President, the White House Press Secretary, and their support staffs. The Vice-President has an office in the building, but his primary office is next door in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room – where the Press Secretary makes announcements and gives daily briefings to reporters – is located in the West Colonnade, between the West Wing and the White House (Executive Residence).


  • History 1
  • First Floor 2
    • Oval Office 2.1
    • Cabinet Room 2.2
    • Roosevelt Room 2.3
    • Press Briefing Room 2.4
  • Ground Floor 3
    • Situation Room 3.1
    • White House Mess 3.2
  • Second Floor 4
  • Depiction on The West Wing TV series 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The main entrance on the north side.
West Wing from above. Note the Oval Office and the solar panels on the roof of the Cabinet Room.

Before construction of the West Wing, presidential staff worked on the second floor of what is now the Executive Residence.[6] However, when Theodore Roosevelt became President, he found that the existing offices in the Mansion were insufficient to accommodate his family as well as his staff. In 1902 he had the West Wing constructed by the New York architects McKim, Mead & White.[1] The West Wing was originally intended as a temporary office structure,[6] built on the site of the greenhouse and stables. The President's Office and the Cabinet Room took up the eastern third of the building. President Roosevelt's office was located approximately where the Roosevelt Room is now.[7]

In 1909, William Howard Taft expanded the building southward, covering the tennis court. He placed the first Oval Office at the center of the addition's south facade, reminiscent of the oval rooms of the White House.[6]

President Herbert Hoover rebuilt the West Wing at the beginning of his administration, excavating a partial basement, and supporting it with structural steel. The completed building lasted less than seven months.[7] On December 24, 1929, the West Wing was significantly damaged by an electrical fire.[2] Hoover rebuilt it, and added air-conditioning.

The fourth and final major reorganization was undertaken by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Dissatisfied with the size and layout of the West Wing, he engaged New York architect Eric Gugler to redesign it in 1933. To create additional space without increasing the apparent size of the building, Gugler excavated a full basement, added a set of subterranean offices under the adjacent lawn,[8] and built an unobtrusive "penthouse" story.[7] The directive to wring the most office space out of the existing building was responsible for its narrow corridors and cramped staff offices. Gugler's most notable change was the addition to the east side containing a new Cabinet Room, Secretary's Office, and Oval Office.[7] The new office's location gave presidents greater privacy, allowing them to slip back and forth between the White House and the West Wing without being in full view of the staff.[2]

As presidential staffs grew substantially in the latter half of the 20th century, the West Wing generally came to be seen as too small for its modern governmental functions. Today, most of the staff members of the Executive Office of the President are located in the adjacent Eisenhower Executive Office Building—originally the State, War, and Navy Building, after the departments it was built to house.

First Floor

First Floor plan.

Oval Office

Cabinet Room

Roosevelt Room

Nixon also renamed the room previously called by Franklin Roosevelt the "Fish Room" (where he kept

  • White House Museum: West Wing, with floorplan and historical images
  • West Wing Interactive, from National Journal Magazine

External links

  1. ^ a b "Tour the West Wing". Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Oval Office". Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ "The President's Cabinet". 
  4. ^ "Situation Room". 
  5. ^ a b "Roosevelt Room". 
  6. ^ a b c "Inside the White House". 
  7. ^ a b c d William Seale, The President's House (White House Historical Association, 1986), pp. 946-49.
  8. ^ The underground offices became the Situation Room and White House Mess. 1938 photo, showing courtyard lighting the underground offices from Library of Congress.
  9. ^ "West Wing of the White House". 
  10. ^ Ingle, Saul (December 2001). "Dinner at 1600 - naval Mess Management Specialists on duty in White House".  
  11. ^ "Scott McClellan Hosts Ask the White House". The White House.  


In 1999, The West Wing television series brought greater public attention to the workings of the Presidential staff, as well as to the location of those working in the West Wing. The show followed the working lives of a fictional Democratic American president, Josiah Bartlet, and his senior staff. When asked whether the show accurately captured the working environment in 2003, Press Secretary Scott McClellan commented that the show portrayed more foot traffic and larger rooms than in the real West Wing.[11]

Depiction on The West Wing TV series

Second Floor plan.

Second Floor

The West Wing ground floor is also the site of a cafeteria, staffed by Naval culinary specialists and called the White House Mess. It is located underneath the Oval Office, and was established by President Truman on June 11, 1951.[10]

White House Mess

Situation Room

Ground Floor plan.

Ground Floor

During the 1930s, the March of Dimes constructed a swimming pool so that FDR could exercise, as therapy for his disability. Richard Nixon had the swimming pool covered over to create the Press Briefing Room, where the White House Press Secretary gives daily briefings.[9]

Press Briefing Room
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