Reimagining the US Capitol

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Harvard architecture student Bryan Boyer redesigned the US Capitol building for a grad school project. His motivation is that the US House of Representatives stopped growing in 1911 simply because the building couldn't hold any more seat. As a result, he says, "the US Capitol changed from monument to memorial." More interesting than the elevations and photo illustrations though are the souvenir plates and $50 bill that Boyer designed to support his big vision. Over at the Sceptical Futuryst, Stuart Candy digs into this example of "architectural time travel." From the Sceptical Futuryst:


It's not by the "direct" schematic and traditional design representations of the building that we get a feel for it. Instead, it's through the mediation of the new Capitol building's role as a cultural force — one iconically reproduced on currency, commemorated in tacky souvenirs, and glimpsed through grubby windows from the backseats of cars — that the presence of his future makes itself felt. In cinema and television, the artifacts of documentary (jerky camerawork, imperfect vantage points, bad sound fidelity) can sometimes lend a more nuanced and lifelike texture to the story than squeaky-clean realist cinema, with the camera always positioned just-so. Boyer has found his way to a sort of architectural equivalent of documentary, and I think it works.

Architectural Time Capsule (Sceptical Futuryst), Our New Capitol (