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Members of the House of Representatives sit in unassigned armchairs arranged in a semicircle on tiered platforms that face the Speaker's rostrum. Behind the rostrum is a frontispiece with Ionic columns made of black Italian marble with white Alabama marble capitals. An American flag occupies the center and is flanked by two bronze faces. The chamber's lower walls are walnut paneled with intervening light grey Genevieve Sheldorado marble pilasters. A gallery for visitors and the press corps rings the chamber
The House Chamber, also known as the "Hall of the House of Representatives,"...

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A virtual Map of Capitol Hill from above
View a map of the U.S. Capitol and other buildings and grounds cared for by the...

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Painted portrait of Dr. William Thornton
The Architect of the Capitol (AOC) is the builder and steward of America’s...

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AOC Capitol jurisdiction decorative painters create a faux marble fireplace.
Find out how the AOC's painters use tricks of the trade to turn wood into...

Who We Are

Benjamin Henry Latrobe

Painted Portrait of Benjamin Henry Latrobe
Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Second Architect of the Capitol
Born: 
May 1, 1764, near Leeds, England
Died: 
September 3, 1820, New Orleans, Louisiana
Hired by President Thomas Jefferson, March 6, 1803; construction halted by July 1, 1811; Hired by President James Madison, April 6, 1815; Resigned November 20, 1817

Benjamin Henry Latrobe was hired by President Jefferson in 1803 to fill the position of "Surveyor of Public Buildings," with the principal responsibility of constructing the Capitol’s south wing. He was also responsible for work at the President’s House and the Navy Yard. After the south wing was completed in 1807 Latrobe began reconstructing the interior of the north wing. Construction funds were withheld after 1810, and Latrobe’s public employment came to an end. After the two wings were damaged by fires set by British troops in 1814, Latrobe was rehired to oversee restoration.

During this period he worked only on the Capitol and had no responsibilities for other government buildings. Latrobe’s employment contract was signed with the commissioners on April 18, 1815, and he resigned on November 20, 1817. He left at the Capitol some of the greatest interiors in the history of neoclassicism in America, including the Hall of the House (now National Statuary Hall), the Old Senate Chamber, and the Old Supreme Court Chamber. He is honored as the second Architect of the Capitol.

Born in 1764 near Leeds, England, Latrobe studied architecture under Samuel Pepys Cockerell and engineering under John Smeaton. He emigrated in 1796 and began his American career in Virginia before settling in Philadelphia. There he designed the Bank of Pennsylvania, the first neoclassical building in the United States to display a Grecian order. He is also known for designing St. John's Church in Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. In 1820 he died in New Orleans, where he had gone to build the city’s municipal water system.