The White House: Architecture of most powerful residence ever built.



Architectural style Neoclassical, Palladian
ArchitectJames Hoban
Location1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,NW Washington, D.C, U.S
Construction StartedOctober 13, 1792 (223 years ago)
Construction CompletedNovember 1, 1800 (215 years ago)
Floor space5,100 m²
Reported Cost$232,371.83 ($2.8 million in 2007 dollars)


The White House property is a National Heritage Site owned by the National Park Service and is part of the President’s Park. In 2007, it was ranked second on the American Institute of Architects list of “America’s Favorite Architecture”.

The White House serves as the official residence and office of the United States president. John Adams, the second president of United States was the first president to enter the White House in 1800.

Adams wrote to his wife Abigail on the second day at the White House: “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this House, and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof.”


Architect for White House was selected by organizing a design competition. The total of nine paintings was submitted by the participants including the design by Thomas Jefferson, the third president and one of the founding fathers of United States of America.

On may 1791 George Washington was on his southern tour when he saw under-construction Charleston County Courthouse designed by Irish architect James Hoban. Washington was highly impressed by the Hoban’s design of the Courthouse and he met Hoban there and requested a design for the White House.

On the final judgment day July 16, 1792, Washington quickly selected the design of Hoban but was not fully satisfied by the design. He found it too small, lacking ornament, and not monumental enough to house the nation’s president. He made certain changes in the design, the building was changed from three-floor design to two-floor design and was widened from a 9-bay facade to an 11-bay facade with some minor alterations in Hoban’s design.

Colour of The White House building

The building is made up of white-painted Aquia Creek sandstone in the Neoclassical style. When construction was finished, the porous sandstone walls were whitewashed with a mixture of lime, rice glue, casein, and lead, giving the building its familiar color and name.

As it is a famed structure in America, several replicas of the White House have been constructed.

Installation of Columns

It was when Thomas Jefferson, third president of United States moved into the house in 1801 with neoclassical architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe and added low colonnades (row of columns) on each wing that conceal stables and storage.


The burning White House

The Burning of Washington incident took place in 1814. It was an attack during the War of 1812 between British and United States of America. British force led by Major General Robert Ross occupied Washington, D.C., and british troops set fire to many public buildings, including the White House. The building was completely destroyed by the charring caused by fire.

Reconstruction of building began immediately after the attack.


During James Monroe’s (5th president) administration, construction of White House continued after the fire attack with the addition of the semi-circular portico designed by Hoban. South portico in 1824 and the North portico in 1829.

The North Portico of the White House, is said to be influenced by the Leinster House ( seat of the Oireachtas, the parliament of Ireland) showing architectural similarities.

The south portico of the White House is shows similar architecture as of Château de Rastignac, designed by Mathurin Salat. The Château de Rastignac is a neoclassical style country house located in La Bachellerie, France.

Oval Office

The Oval Office is the official office of the President of the United States. It is located in the West Wing of the White House Complex.

The office has three large glass windows behind the president’s desk in the south direction.
A fireplace and paintings are on the front side of the office desk in the north direction.

The office has four doors.
East door opens to the Rose Garden.
West door opens to a private study and dining room.
Northwest door opens onto the main corridor of the west wing.
Northeast door opens to the office of the president’s secretary.

Presidents have the options and are free to make any desired changes in the decoration of the Oval Office of The White House.

Executive Residence

The Executive Residence is the central building of the White House complex located between the East Wing and West Wing which houses the president’s dwelling, as well as rooms for ceremonies and official entertaining.

The Executive Residence primarily occupies four floors: the Ground Floor, the State Floor, the Second Floor, and the Third Floor and also a Two story sub-basement.

The Ground Floor is made up of the Diplomatic Reception Room, Map Room, China Room, Vermeil Room, Library, Original kitchen and ancillary spaces, and other offices.

The State Floor of the residence building includes the East Room, Green Room, Blue Room, Red Room, State Dining Room, Family Dining Room,Cross Hall, Entrance Hall, and Grand Staircase.

The Second Floor family residence includes the Yellow Oval Room, East and West Sitting Halls, the White House Master Bedroom, President’s Dining Room, the Treaty Room, Lincoln Bedroom and Queens’ Bedroom, as well as two additional bedrooms, a smaller kitchen, and a private dressing room.
The Third Floor consists of the White House Solarium, Game Room, Linen Room, a Diet Kitchen, and another sitting room (previously used as President George W. Bush’s workout room).

Two-story sub-basement was created during the Truman reconstruction (1948-1952). It is used for HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) and mechanical systems, storage, and service areas, elevator machinery rooms, an incinerator, a medical clinic, a dentist’s office, the electricity control system, a laundry room, and flatware and dishware storage.

U.S government found it badly in need of repair after twelve years of neglect during the Depression and war. In 1946 Congress authorized $780,000 for repairing the White House as the building was declared structurally weak and unsafe in architectural and engineering investigations to house the president President Harry S. Truman

Present Day structure of The White House

It receives up to 30,000 visitors each week.

There are 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and 6 stories in the White House.

There are also 412 doors, 147 windows, 28 fireplaces, 8 staircases, and 3 elevators.

A swimming pool, a jogging track, a tennis court, a (single-lane) bowling alley (officially called the Harry S. Truman Bowling Alley, a movie theater (officially called the White House Family Theater)

The White House requires 570 gallons of paint to cover its outside surface.

At various times in history, the White House has been known as the “President’s Palace,” the “President’s House,” and the “Executive Mansion.” President Theodore Roosevelt officially gave the White House its current name in 1901.

The White House kitchen is able to serve dinner to as many as 140 guests and hors d’oeuvres to more than 1,000.

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