Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Capitol: Underground and Under the Dome

Organized by the DC Preservation League, we were guests of the Architect of the Capitol who, with the senior VP from RTKL gave us a great tour of the new visitors center by RTKL as well as the historic Capitol. The visitors center in under the plaza. The elevators are visible in the photo above, aligned with the light posts. A huge excavation project and challenging addition to an internationally renowned and historic edifice.

Threshold between new visitor's center and historic Capitol.

The plaster cast for the Statue of Freedom which tope the Capitol dome is fittingly displayed facing the new light-filled underground atrium of the visitors center.

Two-story dome under the north light monitor, on the Senate side.

The Capitol Dome. The Apotheosis of Washington painted in the true (plaster) fresco style in the center by Constantine Brumidi who painted it during the last year of the Civil War. The light-flooded passageway along the peristyle. The layers of ornament that build on one another up to the oculus.
The half-dome room under the south light monitor used originally as the main Congressional Meeting Room, now for events such as the Inaugural luncheon.

I was struck by this statue perched over the dooway from the Rotunda to the former Congressional Meeting Room and interested to learn that she is Clio, the Greek goddess or muse of history. I love how she is casting her eyes about the world, taking notes on her tablet while traversing time and space in her winged shiplette.

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