Washington Monument
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Architect Robert Mills
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Location Washington, D.C.,   map
Date 1848 to 1885   timeline
Building Type monument
 Construction System masonry, cut stone
Climate temperate
Context urban parkland
Style Neo-Egyptian
Notes with George P. Marsh. At the center of the U.S. National Mall. Standard Egyptian proportion of 10:1 height to base. Original design chosen by competition, 1836.


Photo, overview

Photo, looking up

Photo at sunset


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Discussion Washington Monument Commentary

Damaged by a magnitude 5.8 earthquake on August 23, 2011, and closed for repairs for an estimated two years.

"The cornerstone was laid in 1848, site problems having caused delays; then, when the monument was some 150 feet high, the Civil War postponed further constuction. Mills died in 1855. In 1876, when construction recommenced, George P. Marsh, who was ambassador to Italy, was among those asked for advice concerning completion of the monument. As a student of Egyptian obelisks—there are thirteen in Rome—he immediately suggested that Mills's projected height of 600 feet be reduced to the standard Egyptian proportions of ten times base to height, or 555 feet, a 55-foot width having been established. Marsh also strongly recommended that the circular 'temple' base be eliminated and that no decorative trim be used. Finally, he proposed a pyramidal capping of aluminum, a pioneering material for the time."

— from G.E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. p130.


At 555 feet tall, one of the highest all-masonry towers in the world. 55 feet wide at the base. Perspective sketch, historical

Sources on Washington Monument

Billionaire to Donate $7.5 Million to Repair Washington Monument, Associated Press at New York Times, 2012.0118.

Photos of post-earthquake engineering inspection work. Kevin Matthews, at DesignCommunity.

G. E. Kidder Smith. Looking at Architecture. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Publishers, 1990. ISBN 0-8109-3556-2. LC 90-30728. NA200.S57 1990. Exterior view of Monument in silhouette, p131. discussion, p130.   Available at Amazon.com

Ernest and Kathleen Meredith, Fairfax, Virginia. Slide from photographers' collection.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at Amazon.com

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