Preliminary Elevation of the Smithsonian Institution Building's South Facade

ID: SIA2012-1153

Creator: Renwick, James 1818-1895

Form/Genre: Paper

Date: 1846

Citation: Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 92, Item 299

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  • This elevation, made in pencil on paper, depicts the south facade of the Smithsonian Institution Building, drafted by architect James Renwick, Jr. Renwick's final Romanesque scheme design is very similar to this early drawing, but there are some differences; the proportions of the west wing and the east range were changed, a small tower on the north side of the west wing was relocated on the main building, and the building was condensed from three stories to two.
  • James Renwick, Jr., began his design of the Smithsonian Institution Building with a Gothic castle and eventually reworked it into a Romanesque castle. This later scheme won him the competition in 1846 to appoint an architect for the design of the Smithsonian's first building.


  • Renwick, James 1818-1895
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)
  • Smithsonian Institution Building Competition


Historic Images of the Smithsonian


Published in C. R. Field, R. E. Stamm, and H. P. Ewing, The Castle: An Illustrated History of the Smithsonian Building, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1993, pg. 2,10.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 92, Item 299

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,



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  • Design
  • Architecture
  • Architecture, Romanesque
  • Drawings
  • Architecture, Gothic
  • Buildings
  • Architectural drawing
  • Architecture--Design and plans
  • Architectural design


  • Paper
  • Drawing

ID Number


Physical description

Number of Images: 1 Color: Color Size: 14w x 7.5h ; Type of Image:Architectural Drawing Medium: Paper

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