Thinking Critically About Architecture.


The Supreme Court was created to be a government courthouse. The structure was designed by American Cass Gilbert in the neoclassical style (U.S. Supreme Court 1, 2011). The courthouse has several Greco-Roman influences. The building uses symmetry, standard Corinthian column types, roof entablature, building wells, and basilicas. The use of Greco-Roman architecture is a benefit to the functionality of the courthouse and its purpose.

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The great size of the building is used to house four floors of judicial service. The ground floor is used for offices and public services. The first floor is occupied by Justices’ chambers, offices for law clerks and secretaries, the East and West Conference rooms, and several other rooms of utility for officers of the court. The second floor is mostly office space and the Justices’ library and dining rooms. The third floor is where the Supreme Court Library is located.

Neoclassical architecture is defined as classical architecture of ancient Greece and Roman influence that is likely to have symmetrical shape, columns that rise to the full height of the buildings, triangular pediment, and/or a domed roof (Neoclassical Architecture, 2011). This style is apparent in the exterior structure of the Supreme Court.

There are sixteen exterior columns that rise to the top of the building and there is triangular pediment visual in the front end. The Supreme Court uses several types of columns from Greek order. The courthouse uses Corinthian columns topped with entablatures supporting the exterior of the building. These columns are present in the center entrance of the main building. There is a definite symmetry of the building as it peeks in the middle and skews to either side. Entablatures are present on the exterior of the courthouse embodied below the pediments and above the columns. These décor are typical of Greek culture and dramatic in design.

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