The United States Capitol is the meeting place of
the United States Congress, the legislature of the federal government of the
United States. Located in Washington, D.C., it sits atop Capitol Hill at the
eastern end of the National Mall. Officially, both the east and west sides of
the Capitol are referred to as "fronts". Historically, however, only the east
front of the building was intended for the arrival of visitors and dignitaries.
Like the federal buildings for the executive and judicial branches, it is built
in the distinctive neoclassical style and has a white exterior.
The Capitol building is marked by its central dome above a rotunda and two
wings, one for each chamber of Congress: the north wing is the Senate chamber
and the south wing is the House of Representatives chamber. Above these chambers
are galleries where visitors can watch the Senate and House of Representatives.
It is an example of the neoclassical architecture style. The statue on top of
the dome is the Statue of Freedom.
Underground tunnels and a private subway connect the main Capitol building with
each of the Congressional office buildings in the surrounding complex. All rooms
in the Capitol are designated as either S (for Senate) or H (for House),
depending on whether they are north (Senate) or south (House) of the Rotunda.
Additionally, all addresses in Washington, D.C. are designated NE, NW, SE, or
SW, in relation to the Rotunda.
The Capitol Grounds cover approximately 274 acres (1.11 km²), with the grounds
proper consisting mostly of lawns, walkways, streets, drives, and planting
areas. Formerly, a number of monumental sculptures were located on the east
facade and lawn of the Capitol including The Rescue and George Washington. The
current grounds were designed by noted American landscape architect Frederick
Law Olmsted, who planned the expansion and landscaping performed from 1874 to
1892. In 1875, as one of his first recommendations, Olmsted proposed the
construction of the marble terraces on the north, west, and south sides of the
building that exist today.