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Benjamin Henry Latrobe

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Works Baltimore Cathedral or St. Mary's Cathedral, at Baltimore, Maryland, 1806 or 1814 to 1818.
United States Capitol, at Washington, D.C., 1793 to 1830.

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Biography Benjamin Henry Latrobe

(b. Leeds, Yorks, England 1764; d. New Orleans, Louisiana 1820)

Benjamin Latrobe was born the son of a Moravian minister in Leeds, Yorks, England in 1764. In 1776 he left England to study at the Moravian Pedagogium in German Silesia. Initially interested in engineering, he developed an interest in architecture while travelling through Germany, France and Italy. Once back in England, he worked as an engineer for John Smeaton and then as an architect for S.P. Cockerell.

The fashion for Greek Revivalism had already begun when Latrobe emigrated to America in 1796. In 1798 Latrobe travelled to Philadelphia where he quickly established himself as a talented architect of Greek Revival buildings.

The architectural style in which he specialized fit nicely with Thomas Jefferson's philosophy of politically relevant architecture and made him quite popular with the president. In 1803 he was summoned to Washington to complete the U.S. Capitol, a project which preoccupied him for the rest of his life.

Latrobe was the first fully trained architect to work and teach in America. His pupils continued working in the Greek Revival style throughout the 1820s and 1830s.

Latrobe died in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1820.

See also Thornton-Latrobe-Bulfinch.

Dennis Sharp. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Architects and Architecture. New York: Quatro Publishing, 1991. ISBN 0-8230-2539-X. NA40.I45. p91-92.

Marcus Whiffen and Frederick Koeper. American Architecture: Volume 1, 1607-1860. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984. p134.

Resources Sources on Benjamin Henry Latrobe

Marcus Whiffen and Frederick Koeper. American Architecture, 1860-1976. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984.   An excellent survey of American architecture. Available at Amazon.com


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