Salt Lake City Capitol

Salt Lake City Capitol Murals

Murals inside the Salt Lake City Capitol building rotunda

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.

Salt Lake City Capitol Rotunda

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.

Salt Lake City Capitol Atrium

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.

Salt Lake City Capitol Exterior

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15 Comments on “Salt Lake City Capitol”

  1. Raunak September 10, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    beautiful! thanks for sharing such lovely pics.


  2. the usual bliss September 10, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    I lived just across the park from the Capitol for almost 10 years. I only visited it once, when I voted. They spent so long renovating it for earthquake safety. These are stunning photos. Thank you so much for sharing!


    • Brian September 11, 2012 at 9:45 am #

      One thing I didn’t mention is that the entire building rests on giant shock absorbers to protect it from earthquakes. Pretty amazing, especially since it wasn’t originally built that way.


  3. There for a reason's Rachel September 10, 2012 at 2:26 pm #

    Thanks for visiting my blog, Brian. I’m really enjoying exploring yours and can’t wait to read more 🙂


    • Brian September 11, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      Thanks for stopping by!


  4. writecrites September 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

    Thanks for reminding us that we do indeed have beautiful architecture here in the U.S. And as a matter of pride, I must tell you about Hawaii’s state capital building, which is quite unique and appropriate. It’s designed to resemble a volcano, a volcanic island in the sea (reflecting pools).


    • Brian September 11, 2012 at 9:42 am #

      Very interesting. We hope to be in Hawaii this winter and we’ll definitely want to cross its capitol off our list.


  5. JeriWB September 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

    Wow. I can’t believe that I never went inside of it on the couple of times I’ve spent time in SLC. If I ever move back to the Boise area, I will have to put it back on my must-see list.


    • Brian September 11, 2012 at 9:39 am #

      It’s definitely worth a stop and doesn’t take much time at all.


  6. Karl Peterson September 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    Beautiful! Since you have visited (and I would guess photographed as well) a number of Capitol buildings, are there any plans to bring photos of all of them together in one blog post? I would love to see that!


  7. NewLifeOnTheRoad (@NewLifeOnRoad) September 12, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    Gorgeous photos – really like how detailed they are 🙂



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