Rhode Island State House
The Rhode Island State House is situated in Rhode Island’s capital of Providence. The capitol contains the Rhode Island General Assembly and, of course, the offices of the governor, the lieutenant governor, the secretary of the state and the general treasurer. The building is of the Neoclassical age and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was designed by the McKim, Mead, and White architectural firm, which, at that time, was the most dominant firm in its field. McKim, Mead, and White began the conceptual and schematic design phase of the project in 1895. By 1901, the three hundred thirty feet long, one hundred eighty feet wide, two hundred thirty-three feet high State House was finally completed. The spatial design follows the traditional bicameral legislative building form established by the Washington, D.C.’s United States Capitol Building.
This basic building form consists of two wings that converge to make the focal point. The Rhode Island House of Representatives chamber is in the west wing, and in the east is the Rhode Island Senate chamber. The building also houses the remarkable rotunda, wherein a brass replica of the state seal, battle flags, statues, guns, and other memorabilia are on display as constant reminders of Rhode Island’s military past. le of the urban setting. Aside from this historical room, the State House has the State Library and the State Room. The stateroom is where press conferences and bill signings take place.
The State House is one of the first government buildings to use electricity. It has over a hundred floodlights and a handful of searchlights. Despite having this modern convenience, the State House also uses energy-saving skylights to illuminate its interiors. The largest skylights light up the Senate Chamber, the Representatives Chamber, and the State Library. The interiors and exteriors of the Rhode Island House of Representatives are mostly made with white marble. The doorways are flanked with solid marble pillars, and over them, carefully etched on the walls, are quotations significant to the history of Rhode Island.
The building is a feat of architecture and engineering. It is topped by one of the largest, self-supporting marble domes in the world. The dome is at par with those of the Minnesota State Capitol, the Taj Mahal, and the world-famous St. Peter’s Basilica. Rhode Island State House’s dome features a gold-plated bronze statue of Independent Man. The five hundred pounds, eleven feet statue, originally called “Hope”, is the embodiment of the spirit of freedom and independence that drove Roger Williams to found Providence and Rhode Island. The State House, sitting atop Smith Hill, serves as a landmark in the area’s cityscape. It is visible from most sites in Providence, and, thus, makes a logical reference point for traveling around and navigating through the hustle and bust.