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The Winning Capitol Design Adopts Classical Elements

The design eventually adopted for the Capitol building was based on the floor plan of the winning competition entry, submitted by Dr. William Thornton. Thornton's design, however, was heavily augmented and adapted. Thomas Jefferson had suggested the building be based on the Roman Pantheon, while Pierre L'Enfant first proposed the domed rotunda. George Hadfield, the English architect hired to execute the building, suggested additional changes, while others such as Stephen Hallet, James Hoban, and Benjamin Henry Latrobe designed the House and Senate chambers, vestibules, and interiors. The building was partially destroyed during the War of 1812 and completed only in 1826, thirty-four years after the announcement of the competition, at which point it was almost immediately deemed too small. A new competition was held in 1850-51 to design the expansion of the building.

Source | Don Alexander Hawkins, Reconstruction of Thornton's Principal Floor Plan, silver-gelatin print; from Library of Congress, Temple of Liberty: Building the Capitol for a New Nation, http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/us.capitol/s2.html.
Creator | Don Alexander Hawkins
Item Type | Photograph
Cite This document | Don Alexander Hawkins, “The Winning Capitol Design Adopts Classical Elements,” HERB: Resources for Teachers, accessed December 5, 2019, https://herb.ashp.cuny.edu/items/show/1123.

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