Menu
Image 1 of
Zoom In
Zoom Out
Fullscreen

“Corn Order," by B. Henry Latrobe, 1809

For a lobby near the Supreme Court Chamber, Latrobe designed column capitals with ears of corn—his first “Americanizing” of classical architecture.

Architect of the Capitol

Corn Order

Continuing Construction

Congress allocated $50,000 in 1803 to build the Capitol’s south wing. President Thomas Jefferson hired the architect-engineer B. Henry Latrobe, who reconfigured the wing’s interior while preserving the exterior design.

Latrobe built the south wing with fireproof masonry vaults. He also used these to rebuild about half of the north wing, which already suffered from rotting timbers and falling plaster. Latrobe constructed a new Senate Chamber and created a new Supreme Court Chamber.

One enduring Jefferson and Latrobe legacy is the use of symbolic sculpture in the Capitol. Sculptors were recruited from Italy. An eagle and statue of Liberty were made for the House Chamber. Giovanni Andrei and Giuseppe Franzoni produced for the Senate figures representing Arts, Commerce, Agriculture, Science, Military Force, and Civil Government.