Function and Purpose


The Capitol Building in Washington D.C. is the meeting place of the nation’s Congress. Congress is the Legislative Branch of the U.S. government that consists on the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives consists on 435 representatives while the Senate consists on 100 senators. Congress meets in the Capitol building everyday to make laws that affect the daily lives of all americans. They also say that congress serves as the voice of the people and the states in the federal government

Architecture, Construction, and Location

The construction of the Capitol Building started in 1793 and the first portion of the Capitol was finished on 1800. Major extensions tothe sides of thebuilding, mostly the North and South sides were approved because of the Nation’s growth to the west. This mayor expansion of the nation caused a huge growth on the nation’s congress. The newest addition to the Capitol is the underground Capitol Visitors Center. It is three fourth’sthe size of the original building. It was built underground so the original structure of the Capitol wouldn’t be affected. The architect and artist that designed this architectural achievement is Architect Thornton. The Capitol has a rotunda that forms the center of the building. The rotunda is 95 ft in diameter and 183 ft high. It also has a statue at the very top that’s called the “Statue of Freedom.” What’s incredible of this building is that it counts with 540 rooms.


Historical Significance

Since the huge expansion of the Capitol Building in 1850, it has become alongside with the big dome at it’s top, an international symbol of the nation’s democracy. Congress met for the first time in the Capitol building the same year that the first portion was finished, in 1800. The Capitol was set in fire once by the British troops in 1814 in the War of 1812, as well as the White House.

Personal Experience and Reflection

When I visited this structure I though that it was huge and very beautiful. The fact that it was huge really impressed me. What called my attention the most was the statue at the very top of the dome of the building. I thought it looked funny, but what I found particularly interesting was that it was a “Statue of Freedom.” I learned that the building is an international symbol of democracy. What I already knew was that Congress met in the Capitol to make laws. What I was surprised to find out was that it took very little time to build it. I’ve seen many structures that it took a century or more to finish and when I saw the Capitol I thought it was one of those structures. When I visited the Capitol, the idea that came directly to my mind was “of course it has to be huge, 435 representatives and 100 senators work here everyday.” My personal opinion about the building is that it is beautiful. Its design is a masterpiece. Besides it is the perfect place for the Legislative Branch to be: Next to the Executive Branch’s working place.


Welcome to the U.S. Capitol. Web. 28 Mar. 2011. <http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/>.

Sergio Martinez#12

The Capitol Building


In Washington D.C. you can find majestic monuments, memorials, and buildings. Upon all these buildings, there is one that caught my attention the most. The U.S. Capitol Building is one of the most important buildings in the United States today. Ahead, I will talk about its importance and functions, architecture, and history.

The Capitol building is of great importance for the United States government now days. It is known for being the official meeting place of the United States Congress. In other words, it’s were the legislature of the United States of America meets. To be more specific about its location, it is located in the Capitol Hill in the National Mall.

The Capitol Building construction was in the city plans of Charles Pierre L’Enfant, but after his dismissal by President George Washington, he wasn’t able proceed with it. Thomas Jefferson proposed a contest with a reward of $500 for the creator of the best Capitol Building design. Several blueprints had been greatly considered, but a late submission of the architect William Thornton was the winner entry. Few months later, William’s design was officially approved and in September 18, 1793 the construction of the Capitol Building officially started. By 1800, the Capitol was first occupied and eventually over time additions to the construction had been made until becoming in what it is today. On August 24, 1814 the Capitol Building was burned by the British army in the war of 1812, but reconstructed. Its last expansion or modification was made in 2008 when part of the east front of the Capitol was modified slightly. It is 88 meters high and it covers about 1.1 square kilometers. In the chamber of House of Representatives it has 448 permanent seats. It also has a chamber for senators and there are no assigned seats.

400_F_6888371_CDWXNpDAffLHKK4FoyPuV4CmbOgwAQRC.jpgWhen I first saw this on a virtual tour I felt really excited. Although the tour was poorly made and graphics were cheap I still felt the essence of the honorable Capitol Building. What called my attention the most was the size. It was huge, and the dome in the middle was impressive. In few words, it is the most impressive building I have ‘visited’. I like the details in the construction like the pillars, small statues on the corners, and the American Neoclassical design. It is also impressive how the capitol building literally started by just being a concrete box with windows and expansions turned it into one of the most architectural features of the United Stated. I’m also impressed in what is done in the inside and the fact that it is the host of Senate and House of Representatives. Apparently, every change to the United Sates policies or laws should been approved by this two chambers and everything takes place in The Capitol Building. I think that the Capitol Building is of great importance no only because of its role towards the country, but also because it symbolizes all the Americans and has stood up for more then 200 years. In conclusion, I think this is the most important building in Washington D.C. because its role, function, and history.


Architect of the Capitol. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <http://www.aoc.gov/>.
"United States Capitol." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Capitol>.
Welcome to the U.S. Capitol. Web. 31 Mar. 2011. http://www.visitthecapitol.gov/.

Sofia HernandezCAPITOL_MAP.png
The U.S. capitol is the most important building in the United States. This building has been with the United States almost since the country was founded, established for social order.
The Capitol houses the U.S. Senate plus the House of Representatives. Also it houses the Supreme Court and the Library of Congress. In this building, the Rotunda has been used for ceremonial functions, such as the unveiling of statues, inaugurations, and other important events like those.
US Capitol
US Capitol

The capital of the United States was not defined until 1800. Before that time, the temporal capital had been Philadelphia. Even before that, Congress had been having their meetings in other parts of the U.S.A., such like New York and Philadelphia. Even before the capital was defined, the capitol was built in Washington D.C., so it could be connected to the president’s house. The Capitol Building does not honor anybody in particular, but honors the new formed country. It honors what the people of the country stand for and believe. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both started and carried out the Capitol.
The Capitol was built in September 18, 1793. It took 34 years, and it was done by six presidents and six architects. The Capitols materials were wood, iron, limestone, etc. The style of the Capitol is neoclassical, as many of the buildings in Washington D.C. The wooden dome the original Capitol had was replaced by an iron dome in 1855, after the fire of 1814. More buildings were added to the Capitol by different presidents. The government paid for the whole construction.

external image capitol_dc.jpg
The presidents who actually ordered changes to the capitol were Washington, Jefferson, Monroe, Fillmore, Eisenhower, and James Madison.
The architects of the Capitol have been this: Dr. William Thornton hired by George Washington; Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who was hired by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; Charles Bulfinch, hired by James Monroe; Thomas Ustick Walter, hired by Millard; Edward Clark, hired by Andrew Jackson; Elliot Woods, hired by Theodore Roosevelt; David Lynn, hired by Calvin Coolidge; J. George Stewart Dwight, hired by Eisenhower; George M. White, hired by Richard Nixon; Alan M. Hantman, hired by Clinton; and Stephen T. Ayers, hired by Barack Obama.
The outside was designed in the Corinthian order. There are 12 porticoes and colonnades that employ 136 store columns with capitals carved with the orders distinctive acantnus leaves and volutes. The iron dome was 48 columns, 72 pilasters and a proportionate length of entablature. The rotunda is a large, domed, circular room located in the center of the capitol and the second floor. The Rotunda has a 4664 square foot fresco painting entitled the apotheosis of Washington.

external image capitol-building-washington-dc.jpg

What called my attention about this site is that it took 34 years and it was done by different architects and parts by parts. I found it really interesting that it houses both houses of the U.S.A. government and that it is open to public. Also I find it interesting that there was a contest held to choose the best design. I was surprised to found out that the design was modified by Hallet many times because he wanted the design to be like his. I think it is a beautiful building and the architecture and the structure are simply breathtaking. The function of the capitol is basically is government, and it makes sense because it was made for social order.