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National Building Museum
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Architect Montgomery C. Meigs
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Location Washington, D.C.,   map
Date circa 1885   timeline
Building Type technology museum, museum of building and architecture
 Construction System bearing masonry
Climate temperate
Context urban
Style Italian Renaissance Revival
Notes National Building Museum of the United States since 1980. Originally the National Pensions Building.


Discussion National Building Museum Commentary

Vast in scale though stylistically derivative, the scales of significance are tipped in favor of this venerable government office building by the topical relevance of its renewed function.

"The Museum occupies one of Washington, D.C.'s most spectacular structures, designed in 1881 by civil engineer and U.S. Army General Montgomery C. Meigs and completed in 1887. The building, which originally housed the Pension Bureau and was later occupied by many government agencies, is widely recognized as a marvel of engineering.

"An ingenious system of windows, vents, and open archways allows the Great Hall to function as a reservoir of light and air. The impressive Italian Renaissance design, with a central fountain and eight colossal Corinthian columns among the tallest interior columns in the world has also made the Great Hall a sought-after spot for gala events, including many Presidential Inaugural Balls, from 1885 to the present day."

— web site


Exterior dimensions:
400 feet by 200 feet in plan
75 feet high to cornice level

Great Hall:
316 feet by 116 feet in plan
159 feet tall at its highest point

The huge multi-story Corinthian columns in the great hall are 75 feet high and 8 feet in diameter. Each column is built of about 70,000 bricks.

Sources on National Building Museum



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building history page at the museum's official site

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