Student Research Projects

Neoclassical Architecture of the United States Capitol Building

Student Erin Combs, '16
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Classics
Course Classics 450: Senior Seminar in Classics


Neoclassical Architecture plays a huge role in the architecture of our Nation\'s Capital and how the buildings and monuments built after our independence was earned were designed. The United States Capitol building is revered by many as a national icon for its role in hosting both the Senate and House of Representatives members of our legislature. But, many do not know its architectural history and how the style is based on both the ancient Greek and Roman architecture found in many temples and buildings during the Classical period. The United States Capitol building has many examples of how the Neoclassical Architecture is used in the architecture of the building. The Rotunda, the Friezes, The National Statuary Hall, The Senate and House buildings and more. The style of different rooms in the Capitol building all have used some sort of Roman or Greek style in their design of the room. The United States used this architecture to show how our branches of government worked to sustain the same image that the government of the Roman Republic had before the Fall Rome. With the design by Benjamin Latrobe and partially constructed by Charles Bulfinch the United States owes its design standards to the ancient world because without the classical architecture of Greece and Rome we would not have the architecture we do today. This project investigates the history behind the architecture and how the Neoclassical Architecture in the Capitol Building shaped American architectural culture and our nation\'s capital.