The White House is a large residence designed in the neoclassical Federal style, with elements reminiscent of classical Greek Ionic architecture. The initial design by James Hoban was based on the Leinster House in Dublin, Ireland, and did not contain the north and south porticos. These were added later by other architects, including Benjamin Henry Latrobe and John Adams. The current building was completed in 1814 by Thomas Jefferson, who is also considered one of its designers.
Federal style is characterized by an emphasis on order, symmetry, and balance, as well as rationality and functionality. It originated in Europe during the late 17th century, became popular after 1772, when it was selected by King George III as the official style of government buildings for America, and has remained widely used since then. The White House is an example of a government office building that is also an iconic symbol of our nation's capital city.
In addition to Jefferson, other prominent early architects of the White House include Benjamin Henry Latrobe and John Adams. From about 1840 to 1890, there was no single architect responsible for all aspects of planning and designing a White House campaign. Instead, several architects would be hired for specific projects, such as furniture making or woodwork. The first complete architectural plan for the house was prepared by Boston architect Charles Bulfinch in 1816. He was commissioned by Jefferson but never completed the project due to financial difficulties.
The White House, which was built in 1800, is perhaps America's most well-known neoclassical structure. It was created by architect James Hoban to imitate Dublin's Leinster House. The White House has been altered little since it first opened its doors to visitors.
The White House was originally called the President's Palace because no other building existed yet for the president to live in. After Thomas Jefferson became the second president to move into the White House, he had a series of rooms on the second floor of the East Wing (now known as the State Floor) that were used for entertaining guests imported from Europe because Americans at this time were not accustomed to dining out. These rooms are now known as the Red Room, Blue Room, and Green Room because of their colors and decorations at that time. The White House did not have a kitchen until Benjamin Henry Latrobe designed one for Jefferson in 1802. Before then, people ate what was served in the State Dining Room which is now located on the first floor of the West Wing.
In 1816, John Quincy Adams added two more floors above the State Dining Room. These new floors contained 20 large bedrooms with private bathrooms for visiting royalty and other important guests. In addition, there was a large ballroom on this floor that was used for official functions such as state dinners.
It wasn't always this way. The White House is constructed of gray-colored sandstone quarried near Aquia, Virginia. The north and south porticos are made of Maryland's red Seneca sandstone. The east and west wings are made of Virginia white limestone. Each piece of stone was carefully chosen to match as closely as possible the color and texture of wood used in the original house.
When Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801, he wanted a house that reflected the elegance of the French style of architecture then popular among wealthy Americans. So he had architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe design a home for him to live in while in office. This new residence was to be located on a tract of land called "Blair's Hill" that Jefferson had bought in order to get away from it all and focus on government business.
The first thing anyone sees when entering the White House via the North Portico is the large lawn in front of you. Once upon a time, this area was covered with trees native to America: white oak, tuliptree, beech, and sycamore. When Jefferson took office, he had these trees removed and in their place planted an English garden with paths, flower beds, and fountains.
You can still see some of these trees today.
Cabinet Cabinet Room (White House) The Cabinet Room is in the West Wing of the White House, next to the Oval Office, and overlooks the White House Rose Garden. Despite the fact that it was completed in 1934, the room is designed in the Georgian style. In 1934, the neoclassical ceiling molding with triglyphs was erected.
The Situation Room is a 5,000-square-foot complex of rooms on the West Wing's ground level, some of which have windows facing the west side of the building. It's also known as "the woodshed." Contrary to common misconception, the White House Situation Room is not a deep subterranean bunker.
The White House's main floor prior to refurbishment. Roosevelt demolished the staircases at the west end of Cross Hall (to the right of the "corridor") and turned the area into the State Dining Room. The walls of all the rooms were plainly plastered.