CLOSE

8 State Capitol Buildings With Unique Domes

The United States Capitol was built upon the idea that a government can be assembled with the consent of citizens and absent the whims of dictators. The Capitol is both aesthetically pleasing and functional, deriving elements and architectural characteristics from the ancient Greeks and Romans. Although most state capitol buildings reflect the same ideals, these 8 stand out for their somewhat unusual decorative toppers.

1. West Virginia

Detail from "Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight" by Snoopywv via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Four different state capitol buildings have eagles atop their domes, but none quite like the West Virginia state capitol eagle. This particular bird perches atop a 25-foot bronze spire built on a 34-foot lantern at the top of the dome. The eagle also boasts red marble eyes. The better to see you with, my pretty.

2. Rhode Island

"Independent Man" byJ. Stephen Conn via Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

Atop Rhode Island’s capitol dome stands the Independent Man. Independently dressed in a bearskin loincloth and holding a spear and an anchor, the man was supposed to be modeled after the founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams. When no one could agree on what he looked like, a generic-but-independent man was cast instead.

3. Maryland

(Detail) Jim Watson // Getty Images

Maryland’s capitol dome boasts an homage to Benjamin Franklin in the form of a 28-foot-tall lightning rod, constructed and grounded to Franklin’s specifications. The rod goes through the center of a 5-foot-tall acorn, symbolizing the strength and potential of an oak tree. Though the oak tree has a commanding amount of potential, the acorn was actually constructed from 31 pieces of cypress.

4. Wisconsin

Daniel Ormontvia Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 3.0

The lady named “Wisconsin” stands 15 feet high and weighs 3 tons as she moves the state “Forward” (its motto) atop the capitol dome. In one hand she holds a globe with an eagle on top and on her helmet sits the state animal, the badger. This particular badger is not clad in a red and white striped sweater like the University of Wisconsin mascot, Bucky Badger.

5. Minnesota

Minnesota’s state capitol was originally designed with St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in mind. What really sets Minnesota’s dome apart isn’t atop the dome, but at its base. Twelve marble eagles surround the base of the dome, as well as a gleaming gold sculpture known as Progress of the State, but commonly referred to as the “Quadriga.” The sculpture’s four horses represent the powers of nature: earth, wind, fire, and water. Think Captain Planet, but with more Chariots of Fire. Below the Quadriga are six large figures sculpted in marble called the Virtues, which represent bounty, courage, integrity, prudence, truth, and wisdom.

6. Oregon

M.O. Stevens via WikimediaCommons // CC BY-SA 3.0

The 23-foot tall “Oregon Pioneer” might be the best looking statue of all state capitol statues. The “Brawny Woodsman,” as he is sometimes called, boasts a beard and a healthy head of a hair, and holds an ax in one hand while a gilded tarp hangs over his other shoulder. 

7. Kansas

iStock

After 37 years of construction, the Kansas state capitol was finally completed in 1903. However, the funding for the statue for the top of the dome wasn’t approved until 1984, a design didn’t follow until 1988, and the statue wasn’t installed until 2002.

The sculpture of a Kansa warrior called “Ad Astra” stands 22 feet tall and was taken from the state’s motto, “Ad astra per aspera,” meaning "To the stars through difficulties."

8. Hawaii

David Grant via Flickr //CC BY-NC 2.0

Hawaii’s state capitol, to no one’s surprise, looks like a resort. The legislative chambers were designed to mimic volcanos, so the interior walls curve upward; the exterior columns are carved in the shape of palm trees, and the building is surrounded by a reflecting pool. So, what’s on top? Nothing—it’s a crater. In the Hawaii capitol building, the sky is the rotunda. 

Original image
iStock
arrow
architecture
One Photographer's Quest to Document Every Frank Lloyd Wright Structure in the World
Original image
iStock

From California’s Marin County Civic Center to the Yokodo Guest House in Ashiya City, Japan, Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence spans countries and continents. Today, 532 of the architect’s original designs remain worldwide—and one photographer is racking up the miles in an attempt to photograph each and every one of them, according to Architectural Digest.

Andrew Pielage is the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s unofficial photographer. The Phoenix-based shutterbug got his gig after friends introduced him to officials at Taliesin West, the late designer’s onetime winter home and studio that today houses the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and Taliesin, the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture.

Higher-ups at Taliesin West allowed Pielage to photograph the property in 2011, and they liked his work so much that they commissioned him for other projects. Since then, Pielage has shot around 50 Wright buildings, ranging from Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, to the Hollyhock House in Los Angeles.

Pielage takes vertical panoramas to “get more of Wright in one image,” and he also prefers to work with natural light to emphasize the way the architect integrated his structures to correspond with nature’s rhythms. While Pielage still has over 400 more FLW projects to go until he's done capturing the icon’s breadth of work, you can check out some of his initial shots below.

[h/t Architectural Digest]

Original image
Made.com
arrow
Art
What the Homes of the Future Will Look Like, According to Kids
Original image
Made.com

Ask a futurist what the house of tomorrow will feature and she might mention automatic appliances and robot assistants. Ask a kid the same question and you’ll get answers that are slightly more creative, but not altogether impractical. That’s what Made.com discovered when they launched Homes of the Future, a project that had kids draw illustrations of futuristic homes that served as the basis for professional 3D renderings.

According to Co.Design, the UK-based furniture retailer recruited children ages 4 to 12 to submit their architectural ideas. The doodles, sketched in pen, marker, and colored pencil, showcase the grade-schoolers' imaginations. Paired with each picture is concept art made with a 3D illustrator that shows what the homes might look like in the real world.

The designs range from colorful and whimsical to coldly realistic. In one blueprint, drawn by Ameen, age 10, a neighborhood of rainbow buildings and flowers float among the clouds. Another sketch by Ellis, age 7, shows a “home built to last” with titanium, bricks, a steel roof, and bulletproof windows. Some kids seemed less concerned with durability than they were with the tastiness of the infrastructure. Cherry-flavored bricks, candy windows, and a giant jelly slide were just some of the features built into the future homes. Sustainability was also a major theme, with solar panels appearing on two of the houses.

Check out the original artwork and the 3D versions of their ideas below.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future drawn by kid.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

House of the future.

[h/t Co.Design]

All images courtesy of Made.com.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios