Friday, November 11, 2005

Close Up of the New Capitol Dome

Here is a close up of the new dome. The restored Capitol dome was modeled after Cass Gilbert's original design, which was chosen by the citizens of West Virginia over the all gold leaf design that West Virginia's had come to recognize when the Capitol was regilded in 1988. A press release by the Governor's Office provides some more details:

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Gov. Joe Manchin today encouraged state residents to actively participate in the selection of the West Virginia State Capitol dome finished exterior design by voting between two restoration options.

“The Capitol dome is a historical landmark of national and international significance and deserves to be preserved in the best possible manner,” the governor said. “I encourage all citizens to take advantage of this opportunity and to express their opinions on what the future should hold for this wonderful part of West Virginia’s history.”

West Virginia citizens can select between two proposed design options:

OPTION A – Original Dome Design: The West Virginia State Capitol was designed by the pre-eminent American architect Cass Gilbert and was dedicated on June 20, 1932. Mr. Gilbert based the Capitol dome’s design on the dome of the Hotel National des Invalides in Paris, France. Les Invalides was constructed in 1708 by Louis XIV and currently houses Napoleon’s tomb. Following the lead of Les Invalides, the original State Capitol dome was finished with gold leaf and a gray (lead-colored) field. The intent of this color scheme was to create a transition between the building’s limestone neutral color and the gold-leafed lantern, drawing the eye upward from the dome base to the lantern.

OPTION B – All Gold Dome Design: In 1988, the original two-tone color scheme was replaced and covered entirely with gold leaf.
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