Form-Based Codes Institute at Smart Growth America

Robert A. Peck

Washington, DC
FBCI Involvement

Robert A. Peck is a Principal and senior workplace strategist at Gensler, a global architecture and design firm.  Bob is co-leader of the firm’s Government Practice Area.   Bob helps public and private sector clients get the maximum performance out of their workplaces, whether a leased space, a building or an entire portfolio.  An experienced commercial real estate, nonprofit and public sector executive, he is a nationally recognized advocate for high-quality design, active work environments, smart growth and sustainable building.  Bob’s expertise includes leading complex real estate portfolio strategy and public-private development projects.

For five years in the Clinton Administration and nearly three in the Obama Administration, Bob was Commissioner of GSA’s Public Buildings Service.  With an annual budget of more than $9 billion and a workforce of 7,000, PBS conducts nationwide asset and property management, design and construction, leasing, and disposals for 375 million square feet of space accommodating more than 1.1 million federal workers.

At GSA, Bob introduced real estate performance metrics tied to performance bonuses and helped launch the Design Excellence program, under which the Federal government returned to its lost practice of building buildings “worthy of the American people,” as Bob puts it.  In his second tour at GSA, he became known for spearheading efforts to reduce the government’s real estate footprint through open space plans, consolidations, hoteling and telework and for initiating a “Green Proving Ground” program to measure the effectiveness of innovative sustainable technologies and practices in GSA buildings.

In government, in addition to GSA, he has worked at the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, the National Endowment for the Arts, the White House and the Federal Communications Commission.  He was associate counsel to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and chief of staff to the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY).  He was a Special Forces (Green Beret) officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.

In the private sector, Bob has been a land use and real estate lawyer, a real estate investment executive, and a broker and real estate consultant.  In the nonprofit sector, Bob was the full-time president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade (the regional chamber of commerce) and vice president for public affairs at the American Institute of Architects.

He received his B.A. cum laude with distinction in economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and his J.D. from Yale Law School.  He was a visiting Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and a visiting lecturer at Yale College.

He has lectured widely and written about land use, transportation, urban design, sustainable development and historic preservation.  He was a founding board member of the Surface Transportation Policy Project and helped draft ISTEA, the landmark Federal transportation reform law sponsored by Senator Moynihan.

Bob has served on corporate and non-profit boards, is a former president of the DC Preservation League and served on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts and Federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation.  Bob was a mayoral appointee to the DC Board of Education and co-chaired its facilities committee.

The American Institute of Architects and American Society of Landscape Architects have both named him as an honorary member.  He has received the annual achievement awards of the Washington regional Coalition for Smarter Growth and the DC Building Industry Association.  In 2011, he won the Henry Hope Reed Award from the Driehaus Foundation and the University of Notre Dame and in 2012 the Thomas Jefferson Award for Public Architecture from the American Institute of Architects.

He lives in Chevy Chase, DC, with his wife, Lynn Palmer, a DC public high school French teacher.  Their two children are products of the DC Public Schools.