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Domes, rotundas, symmetrical wings, and porticos

Virginia State Capitol, Richmond,  Virginia

In the late 18th century, the United States embarked on a new democratic venture, turning 13 former British Colonies into a single united country of separate states. Each of the states (which of course has since grown to 15 in number) sought to brand themselves in part through its civic architecture, constructing imposing capitol buildings in each state's capital city. The Virginia State Capitol, begun in 1785, is on the tentative list for designation as a World Heritage site. It also is one of the few state capitols to lack a dome. Apparently construction of subsequent capitol buildings cross the United States largely followed a tried and true design.


America's State Capitols: An Architectural Explainer

By Anthony Paletta

April 28, 2017

City Lab

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