The United States Capitol is one of the most aesthetically significant and symbolically significant structures in the world. For almost two centuries, it has held the Senate and House of Representatives meeting rooms. The current Senate wing, which was built from 1856 to 1858, was designed by American architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe.
The House and Senate chambers are located on the first floor of the Capitol's H-shaped building. The House sits to the right of the entrance; the Senate to the left. Each body operates as a separate legislative branch with its own rules and procedures. However, they do have some power sharing agreements such as the ability of senators to force votes on issues before them.
A joint committee meets in an adjoining room to discuss matters before them. The full House and Senate can also call special meetings at any time. If both bodies agree, a third session of Congress can be called. Otherwise, Congress will expire every five years.
In addition to their main chamber, each body has other rooms for committee meetings, reception areas, etc. The entire first floor is open to the public for viewing of the chambers and hallways. On the second floor is the visitors' gallery where members of the public can watch proceedings.
There are several ways to reach the Capitol Building.
Begun in 1793, the United States Capitol has been erected, destroyed, rebuilt, enlarged, and renovated; it now stands as a memorial not just to its creators, but also to the American people and their government. The current Congress is in its fifth session in this building.
The House meets in the East Wing, which was built between 1824 and 1856 by Samuel Adkins and Henry Dearborn. The Senate meets in the West Wing, which was built between 1845 and 1851 by William Campbell and Thomas Jefferson Davis. Both wings are identical in size and style, with 12 rows of columns supporting a flat roof. There are separate entrances for each wing, on Capitol Hill.
Each house has its own chamber for voting and other business. The House Chamber is 450 square feet (42 m 2) and has a domed ceiling made of maple. It can hold up to 200 people. The Senate Chamber is also 450 square feet (42 m 2), but has a flat wooden floor instead of carpets. It can hold 20 people. Both chambers have similar furniture: desks for members to write at, chairs for senators to sit in, etc.
Although both chambers are known as "the House" or "the Senate", only one can be sitting at a time.
The United States Capitol Building The United States Capitol, the world's most renowned emblem of democratic governance, has hosted Congress since 1800. The Capitol is where Congress gathers to establish our nation's laws, as well as where presidents are sworn in and make their yearly State of the Union addresses. The building is a national monument managed by the National Park Service.
It is a massive structure, made up of three interconnected buildings: the East Wing, which was built first (1792); the West Wing (1815); and the North Wing (1909). The entire complex is surrounded by a stone wall with gates leading into it. The area within the wall is known as the Capitol Campus.
The Capitol itself is the largest single-room house in the country. It measures approximately 144 feet long by 48 feet wide and has a total floor space of about 5500 square feet. It consists of a main chamber called the House Chamber that can hold members of Congress for official business, and a smaller committee room called the Cloak Room that is used for meetings and ceremonies. Above the chamber is a balcony called the Well of the House, where members can address crowds during important legislative proceedings.
The Capitol is located on Capitol Hill, a steep hill overlooking the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. The grounds include many memorials and monuments dedicated to former members of Congress who died while serving their districts.