Architecture of the American Government

November 05 2020 0comment

Architecture of the American Government

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With one of the tensest elections in recent history currently dominating the news, we thought we would take a look at the architecture of some of the most important buildings in the American nation - the various halls of government. Often built in the neoclassical style (President Trump recently put out an order that all new government buildings must be built in this fashion), American governmental architecture brings to mind the ancient days of the Greek city-states and the Roman Republic. With great bulbous domes held up by pillars of marble totally eliminating the need for flat roof demarcation, the Washington D.C. capital complex is truly a sight to behold. In this article, we will have a look at some of the most beautiful buildings here.


White House

The White House is without a doubt the most iconic of all of these buildings, recognised worldwide as the seat of the American President, the ultimate power in the nation. The White House has functioned as the residence of every American president since John Adams in 1800, however it has been rebuilt and added to time and time again since it was razed by the British Army in the War of 1812. The White House was modelled on Leinster House, which is currently the seat of the legislature of the Republic of Ireland. In the modern day, the White House is more of a complex than simply one building, featuring the Executive Complex, the West Wing, where all of the President's offices are kept, the East Wing, which is used for meetings and public events, a guest residence called Blair House, and the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, which was formerly the State Department.


United States Capitol

Perhaps the second most important building in the United States, the Capitol Building is the meeting place of Congress and the seat of the House of Representatives. As such, it is largely the equivalent of the British Houses of Parliament because both houses of the government assemble there and decide policy. The Capitol Building itself is quite fascinating in its design, sitting atop a network of tunnels which connect the building to other Congressional office buildings in the Capitol complex. The building itself houses numerous chambers filled with paintings depicting various several major events in American history, particularly from the Revolutionary War. At the bottom of the building is situated the Crypt, the intended resting place of the father of the nation George Washington. However, Washington was buried elsewhere, and the Crypt now houses several historical monuments and art pieces. The exterior of the Crypt is built in the neoclassical style, like most of the buildings on this list, and is carved from white marble.


Supreme Court Building

The Supreme Court Building will see a lot of use in the coming weeks, due to massive incoming legal action from the Trump campaign. The building itself is befitting of such an important organisation, resembling an ancient Greek temple in its marble facade. The building itself was actually designed in the 1900s, being completed in the 1930s. Despite this, it is still built in the same style as the 19th century buildings on this list, rejecting more contemporary architectural movements in favour of a more classic American style. The reason for this is so that the Supreme Court Building may resemble a "Temple of Justice", a place within the nation where all may be treated equally under the law. Most of the marble is from Alabama, though much came from Spain and Italy, and the architect actually sent a letter to Benito Mussolini requesting that his nation only sends the highest-quality marble for his project. The building itself contains a basketball court and a gym, and a handy sign informing visitors that basketball and weightlifting are prohibited while court is in session.

Treasury Building

Last on the list comes the Treasury Building, built in the early 19th century to house, you guessed it, the Treasury. The building itself has been built and added to between 1832 and 1869, largely adding new wings to the east, west, north, and south sides of the building. Like all buildings on this list it was built in the neoclassical style and is fronted by a Greco-Roman facade of white marble pillars. The south wing of the building contains a statue of founding father Alexander Hamilton and several other historic art installments. Besides holding the United States Department of the Treasury, the Treasury Building also housed the presidential offices while Abraham Lincoln's family prepared to depart the White House following his assassination in 1865.

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