The White House in Washington, D.C., is a neoclassical presidential palace influenced by Irish Palladianism. Castle Coole and Richard Cassel's Leinster House in Dublin both claim to have influenced architect James Hoban, who created the executive house between 1792 and 1800. The site was originally intended for a European-style castle for George Washington's nephew Lawrence Lewis "Larry" Lee, but he never built it.
In addition to its architectural interest, the need for a government office building in Washington prompted the selection of a permanent site for the new structure. The city's planning commission recommended that the federal government build a temporary facility on a vacant lot near the Capitol until they could find a suitable location for their offices. The Treasury Department agreed, and construction began in 1791. The building was completed just in time for Congress to move into it on March 4, 1792.
Because there were no windows on the west side, the rooms were dark and unused. In 1818, President James Monroe ordered that glass be installed in all west-side rooms as well as in some others. The order was not executed until years later because there was no way to transport the heavy glass items at the time. They would have had to be taken piece by piece through very dangerous streets full of wild animals and criminals looking for trouble.
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 house has been altered and expanded over time; today it consists of several interconnected buildings - the main one being 1701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
There are many similarities between the White House and other Greek temples, such as the Senate Building in Athens, Greece. Both have columned entrances, an oblong plan form, and they share similar decorative details. However, unlike the White House, which is used for living purposes, Greek temples were places where gods were worshipped.
The word "white" is used here because the original exterior walls were painted white. The British had done this to make the building look more important. When Thomas Jefferson became president in 1801, he ordered that the house be painted in American Indian red, which is what most of it now appears. Other than the interior woodwork, which is all white, the rest of the building is black.
In conclusion, the White House is not actually built like a Greek temple, but it does have some similarities.
James Hoban (1755–December 8, 1831) was an Irish architect best known for building Washington, D.C.'s White House. He also designed several other important buildings in Washington, including the Carriage House and the Treasury Building.
Hoban came to America in 1770 at the age of 14. He worked as a carpenter and builder before becoming one of the first registered architects in the country. In 1792, he submitted a proposal to build a new capital city for the State of Virginia but it was rejected because no senator wanted to be located near a tavern owner. Undaunted, he went on to submit more proposals until his third proposal was accepted in 1800.
In 1801, he was hired to redesign the executive mansion, then called "The President's House". The new house was to be larger than the old one and include additional rooms. It took Hoban four years to complete the project and he charged only $25,000 for his work. He was not paid until two months after the inauguration of Thomas Jefferson as president. That same year, he also redesigned the Capitol building with its current layout being used today.
Hoban was instrumental in having George Washington move into the new White House.