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The Smithsonian Institute Castle

Famous Buildings in Washington, DC: The Smithsonian Institute Castle


Victorian architect James Renwick, Jr. gave this Smithsonian Institute Building the air of a medieval castle.
The Smithsonian Institute Castle in Washington DC

The Smithsonian Institute Castle

Photo (cc) Noclip / Wikimedia
Smithsonian Information Center, The Smithsonian Castle
Built: 1847-1855
Restored: 1968-1969
Style: Victorian Romanesque and Gothic
Architects: Designed by James Renwick, Jr.,
completed by Lieutenant Barton S. Alexander of the U.S. Army Topographic Engineers

Learn About the Smithsonian Castle

The Smithsonian Building known as the Castle was designed as a home for the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institute. Today the Smithsonian Castle houses the Smithsonian's administrative offices and a visitor center with maps and interactive displays.

The designer, James Renwick, Jr., was a prominent architect who went on to build the elaborate Gothic Revival St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City. The Smithsonian Castle has a medieval flavor with rounded Romanesque arches, square towers, and Gothic Revival details.

When it was new, the walls of the Smithsonian Castle were lilac gray. The Triassic sandstone turned red as it aged.

More About the Smithsonian Castle

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