The Architecture of the Library of Congress Essay

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The Architecture of the Library of Congress

Constructed between 1888 and 1897, the Library of Congress is located in Washington, D.C. at the intersection of 1st St. and Independance Avenue. It's beautiful, large-scale building is comprised mainly of marble, granite, iron, and bronze. The Library's architectural style is reminiscent of that of ancient Greece. It's typical Greek characteristics include columns of the Ionic order, relief sculpture, and statues of Greek god figures, such as Poseidon, god of the sea. These attributes are significantly comparable to those of the altar of Pergamon located in present day Turkey. Housing thousands of books, music, and art collections, the Library of Congress contains numerous reading rooms
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Government, 4). The designers kept typical Greek architecture in mind when building the Library of Congress. The structure imitates Greek styles, particularly those found in the altar of Pergamon, and was completed in 1897.

The altar at Pergamon was constructed during the reign of Eumenes II, around 197-159 BC (Stokstad, 212). Unlike the Library of Congress, the altar was not constructed by distinguished architects, but by numerous Pergamene artists. The main functions of the altar were for prayer and worship dedicated to gods. It was erected in celebration of Pergamon's defeat of the Gauls.

Although built hundreds of years apart, the Library of Congress and the altar of Pergamon have definite physical similarities. One distinct likeness is the columns each has. They are both columns of the Ionic order, characterized by the ram's head capitals. The two buildings are entered by large staircases leading to multiple entrances. Greek figures are depicted on the exterior of each and are sculpted in high relief with deep undercuttings to enhance the figures. Another similarity is the size of the buildings. Both were built on a massive scale stretching out on a horizontal line.

Physical contrasts are apparent as well. Although the Library of Congress has typical Greek traits, it does not have an engraved frieze like the altar of Pergamon. Wings were built on both monuments, but in
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