White House in Washington

Posted on January 5, 2018 · Posted in Architecture, Historic Buildings, Uncategorized

December 8th, 2017 marked the anniversary of the death of the architect who designed the White House in Washington D C. He was James Hoban, an Irishman, who won a national design competition for the building.

James was born in 1762 in Callan, County Kilkenny and trained in the Georgian style of architecture. He emigrated to the United States just after the war of independence and he designed the old state capitol building at Columbia.

This led to George Washington suggesting that that he moved to Washington in 1792 and submit a plan for the presidential mansion.

Hoban duly won the national competition and the house took from 1793 to 1801 to build. Eleven years later he rebuilt it large parts of it when, after it was burned by the British in 1812, he supervised its reconstruction.

The design was hugely influenced by Leinster House in Dublin designed by Richard Cassels and constructed 1750 for the Duke of Leinster. The main facade drew for its inspiration on plate 51 in James Gibbs’ Book of Architecture (London, 1728).

While he was doing all this James was, from 1793, a superintendent in charge of the erection of the Capitol (designed by William Thornton).