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Santiago Reyes
Santiago Reyes

Benjamin Henry Latrobe

The work of Benjamin henry latrobe (1764-1820) has long marked a sea change in our telling of the architectural history of the united states. He modeled the professional practice of architecture as he knew it in England, with design separated from execution, and established this through the young americans he trained, including William strickland and Robert Mills. His designs, both for public, institutional buildings and private, mostly residential ones, embodied a modern Classical language that was governed by heroic geometries, by a largeness of scale, a spareness of surfaces, and often a demonstrative rationality in volumes visibly portraying specific iconic functions. He left a rich written legacy, which shows that he was conscious of bringing modern practice and rational taste to the young new republic, and he repeatedly cited bodies of contrary inclinations--the Anglo-Palladian tradition that reigned until 1760, the "old French books" that Jefferson consulted, and the entrenched habits of work and charging for it practiced by building craftsmen.

benjamin henry latrobe



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