The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is the federal agency responsible for the maintenance, operation, development, and preservation of 16.5 million square feet of buildings and more than 450 acres of land throughout the United States Capitol Complex. The United States Capitol complex includes the Capitol, the congressional office buildings, the Library of Congress buildings, the Supreme Court building, the U.S. Botanic Garden, the Capitol Power Plant, and other facilities. The AOC is also responsible for the upkeep and improvement of the Capitol grounds, and the arrangement of inaugural ceremonies and other ceremonies held in the building or on the grounds. Legislation has been enacted over the years to place additional buildings and grounds under the jurisdiction of the Architect of the Capitol. The AOC provides professional expertise in the preservation of architectural and artistic elements. The AOC also provides recommendations concerning design, construction, and maintenance of the facilities and grounds.
The Architect of the Capitol is part of the legislative branch and is responsible to the United States Congress. The Architect of the Capitol also serves as the Acting Director of the United States Botanic Garden under the Joint Committee on the Library. The Architect of the Capitol is apponted by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate for a term of ten years. The Architect of the Capitol also serves as the Acting Director of the United States Botanic Garden under the Joint Committee on the Library. Dr.William Thorton was the first Architect of the Capitol. Stephen T. Ayres is the current acting Architect of the Capitol.