Stewards of the iconic buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill since 1793.

Featured

The Frieze of American History in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol
The Frieze of American History in the Rotunda of the United States Capitol...

Featured

A crowd of people visiting the Capitol during visitor hours
Visitor Hours for the Buildings on Capitol Hill.

Featured

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

Featured

Anne Frank Tree and marker planted in the ground in front of the Capitol
Anne Frank Tree on Capitol Grounds

Senate Chamber

Senate Chamber

Senators sitting in two story Senate Chamber.
Overview 

The Senate Chamber is a rectangular, two-story room located in the center of the north wing. The nation's 100 senators sit at individual desks arranged on a tiered semicircular platform facing a raised rostrum. A visitor's gallery overlooks the chamber on four sides.

First used on January 4, 1859, the Senate chamber was designed by Thomas U. Walter, the architect of the Capitol extension. The chamber was built without windows to insulate senators from outside noise. Light was originally provided through a large skylight and ventilation came courtesy of steam-powered fans.

In 1949-1950 the chamber was reconstructed, the skylight removed, and the walls redesigned. Pilasters made from red Levanto marble replaced the cast-iron originals; the wooden rostrum was replaced with a larger version in marble; and the iron and glass ceiling was taken out and a new stainless steel and plaster ceiling installed. The alteration were intended to improve the chamber's acoustics and ventilation while ridding it of its mid 19th-century decor, which was then out of fashion.

Last Updated: September 17, 2014