The U.S. may not have Europe’s 17th century palaces to house our government offices but we’ve still managed to create some amazing spaces for our bureaucrats. Each state capitol we’ve visited (18 in all so far) is unique. Notwithstanding its stereotypically domed neoclassical architecture, the Capitol in Salt Lake City is one of the most impressive we’ve seen.
Its thee-story rotunda rises 165 feet above the ground, reaching its apex with an illusion of open sky. Colorful murals depicting Utah’s history warm the cold marble façade in a way we haven’t seen elsewhere. This combination of vibrancy and classical sobriety makes the huge open space both awe inspiring and intimate.
Atriums flank the rotunda on its east and west. Large skylights supported by monolithic columns fill the open area with natural light and illuminate grand marble staircases.
Outside, the Capitol rests on a 40 acre plot with gardens, a reflecting pool and a war memorial. It looks exactly like a capitol should, and most do. Inside, it’s something else entirely.