Free Essay with a Classical Architecture Critique about the US Supreme Court Building

Published: 2019-05-17
Free Essay with a Classical Architecture Critique about the US Supreme Court Building
Categories: Architecture
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1440 words
12 min read


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One of the most distinguishing features of classical art can be seen in the Greek Architecture. One of the most profound buildings that are full of Greek architecture is the US Supreme Court Building. This is one of the most beautiful Historical building that the US government has built. Designed by Cass Gilbert, a New York Architect who was later succeeded by the son, it was completed in 1935. The building clearly resembles the Roman Temple style of building. It has been characteristically raised on a podium that is preceded by a front staircase. Its free standing 16 pillars appear at the welcoming part of the building.

The Classical Corinthian Style is evident from its thin free standing columns. The building has been designed on a scale to show the importance and the dignity of the court and the Judiciary as a whole and an independent arm of the government. The obvious reason as to why the Corinthian architectural style was is used by the way it is harmonized by the surrounding congressional buildings. The influence of Roman Empire around is seen in a variety of places globally including France and Britain. American court buildings are not exceptions, majority of them have been built in the Roman Empire design. They not only influenced our Building, but also our Legal System. Our legal system traces most of its Authority from the Roman Empire. Some laws as seen in the constitution closely resemble pieces of the Roman Empire. From the Roman law as seen, the Supreme Court obtained both architectural design and Legal.

In addition, we can also say that the design in a way expresses a quiet dignity which in real sense is needed to be seen the Supreme Court. This quiet and a more reserved style is usually referred to as the neoclassical revival.


Distinguishing where art is applicable in politics may not be as open to the naked eye. Realizing how planning and construction of building for public can be used as a message parsing tool is even harder. But to the surprise of a lot of people, many philosophical, political and indistinguishable human values are passed through design as evidently portrayed by the Roman Greek columns for a religious reason.

Another message that could be portrayed by this is that the ancient Roman Empire had a large influence on not only our design of major government buildings but also on our Legal system. This is because our Legal system traces its Authority back to the Roman law. It depicts what was seen in the early days of the Roman Empire. Some of the main characteristics include sobriety, simplicity and order. The trustworthiness that was seen in the Roman Empire before its fall is what should be emulated in the judicial system.

The architectural stamp left on our buildings may also be speaking to us of the mysteries and facts that were compounded in the Roman Empire. The mysteries surrounding its rise and survival may be shown in the Supreme Court building. Its message, stasis and mutability combined with that of the earth and of that above sends pulses through the western architecture.


The US Supreme Court Building resembling some of the classical Roman Greek temples in the Corinthian order has a lot to show of its importance and its use for honorable reasons. The Corinthian columns being the most slender of the three architectural designs, can be distinguished by the bell shaped capitals with the volutes. The large oval shaped area that looks like a stadium then followed by the large broad stairs that leads to the entrance. This large staircases and columns give a sense of pride an authority.

Aspects of the building, the Supreme Court Building, depicts that it is meant for a Nobel purpose. The several unique characteristics of this building make it stand out and at the same time fit in together with other buildings adjacent to it. This therefore draws people to it to admire its beauty and elegance together with the grace that is upon it. The simplicity of its great detail is just outstanding and profound for any naked eye to see it. Its design and intricate details give me a sense that the building is automatically of a higher importance and has a level of dignity imposed on it.

The large entrance gives a warmer feeling towards those approaching it. It gives a welcoming feeling to all who walk towards US Supreme Court. This area is also kept in a very clean state that shows an element of respect towards the highest court in the land. The area is therefore respected just as it is. The building therefore upholds a standard of professionalism. This adds to the sophisticated and dignified feeling that is associated with the building as a result of the Corinthian order.

Since the building also uses various variations of the Corinthian order it brings up a sense of individuality. It gives a perception of open mindedness to various ideals that may arise. It implies a culture of accepting various ideals irrespective of the status or to whom they will apply.

Therefore the Corinthian order may be a bag full of various entities that may bring up as a culture thats composed of democratic and freedom related rights


It has a neocolonial style that gives both a liberal and conservative design to the building. This style reflects that the building will be for this generation and the generation to come. A lot of United States of America government buildings uses Greek and Roman basis for what the government buildings look like now.

The neoclassical architecture style on federal buildings use Greek influences. These were popular during the eighteenth century. The building includes a Column with large parried spiral scrolls and Doric columns that usually have a simple rounded capital which are found at the top of a heavy fluted or smooth Column shaft without a base.

The building also has marble that is used for statues, flooring due to its beauty, durability and relative east of carving. Cast iron is also used in the U.S. Capitals within the mid-nineteenth century house.


The Corinthian style is appropriate for this building in that the US Supreme Court building is a monumental structure of importance among the Americans. Borrowing a lot form the Roman and Greek building in real terms makes them appreciate the fact.

This design is efficient in that it allowed the fusion between classical impressive qualities with dignity which is a quiet, reserved style which can refer to it as neocolonial revival.

It is made up of the steel frame that holds the entire structure which is then faced with white marble. The 16 Corinthian columns supporting the elaborate entrance with a podium elevated staircase is connected with the temple like pavilion.

The interior has four spacious courts provided enough light air and space for work to be done in a more effective manner. The chambers are not too big but just what I would call the right size to preserve the intimacy that is seen in most courts throughout the US.

Also the justices working areas were carefully and deliberately separated from the working environment of the entire public therefore ensuring privacy and a quiet surrounding for them to work. The entrance of the flight of stairs is made of marble that leads to the entrance where visitors come in through into the great hall as normally referred to but its a large rectangular vestibule that is lined with Doric columns. Straight past it is the courtroom. A space of about 64 feet square and illuminated by windows behind ionic columns


As it shows itself the building is ideal for use by the Supreme Court, the highest court in the land. We looked at the US Capitol Hill, the US Supreme Court Building, the history of the building, why they chose the classical Corinthian order, the message as communicated by the architecture, the perception that the design brings forth, style of the building and how it enhances its use and lastly why the style is appropriate for the building.

Works cited:

Cartwright, Mark. "Greek Architecture." Ancient History Encyclopedia. N.p., 06 Jan. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2015.

Explore Capitol Hill." Corinthian Columns. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2015.

Explore Capitol Hill." Supreme Court Building. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Feb. 2015.

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