Rhode Island State House
The Rhode Island State House is situated
in Rhode Islandís 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
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
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.ís
United States Capital Building.
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 Islandís military
past. le of the urban setting. Aside from this historical
room, the State House has the State Library and the State
Room. The state room 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. Peterís Basilica. Rhode Island State Houseís dome
features a gold-plated bronze statue of Independent Man. The
five hundred pound, eleven feet statue, originally called
ďHopeĒ, 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 landmark
in the areaís 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.