Latrobe, Benjamin

▪ American architect

born May 1, 1764, Fulneck, near Leeds, Yorkshire, Eng.
died Sept. 3, 1820, New Orleans, La., U.S.
 British-born architect and civil engineer who established architecture as a profession in the United States. Latrobe was the most original proponent of the Greek Revival style in American building.

      Latrobe attended the Moravian college at Niesky, Saxony, and traveled in France and Italy, acquiring a knowledge of advanced French architecture. After returning to England in 1784, he studied with the Neoclassical architect Samuel Pepys Cockerell. Latrobe may also have studied engineering under John Smeaton, a well-known civil engineer. Having begun his own practice about 1790, Latrobe designed Hammerwood Lodge, Sussex, which shows his subsequent combinations of bold geometric forms with classical details.

      Latrobe emigrated in 1795 to the United States, where his first important work was the State Penitentiary in Richmond, Va. (1797–98; demolished 1927). Latrobe then moved to Philadelphia and in 1798 received the commission for his Bank of Pennsylvania, whose Ionic porticoes inspired countless imitations; the building is now considered the first monument of the Greek Revival in America. It is clear, however, that Latrobe did not feel himself confined by styles, as his Sedgeley House, Philadelphia, built about the same time, is thought of as the first Gothic Revival structure in the United States.

      In Richmond, Latrobe had met Thomas Jefferson (Jefferson, Thomas), who, in 1803, made him surveyor of the public buildings of the United States. In this post Latrobe inherited the task of completing the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In the House of Representatives and the Senate chambers, he incorporated American floral motifs—corn cobs, tobacco leaves—into the classical scheme. His Supreme Court Chamber (designed 1806–07) in the Capitol is a notably original American classical interior.

      Latrobe's most famous work is the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Roman Catholic cathedral of Baltimore (begun 1805), a severe, beautifully proportioned structure slightly marred by the onion-shaped domes added, after Latrobe's death, to the towers above the portico. Also in Baltimore is his Exchange (1820).

      Latrobe was also active as an engineer, especially in the design of waterworks. His more inventive schemes, involving engines, steamboats, and similar projects, brought him to financial ruin. While supervising his waterworks project for New Orleans, Latrobe contracted yellow fever and died. Latrobe set high standards of design and technical competence that were adopted by his foremost pupils, Robert Mills and William Strickland.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • LATROBE, Benjamin Henry — (1764 1820)    Benjamin Henry Latrobe, born to a prominent family in England, traveled widely and was highly educated, speaking over five languages. After being wounded while fighting in the Prussian army, he returned to London; beginning in 1790 …   Historical Dictionary of Architecture

  • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry — born May 1, 1764, Fulneck, Yorkshire, Eng. died Sept. 3, 1820, New Orleans, La., U.S. British U.S. architect and civil engineer. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1795. His first important building was the State Penitentiary in Richmond, Va. In 1798,… …   Universalium

  • Latrobe, Benjamin Henry — (1 may. 1764, Fulneck, Yorkshire, Inglaterra–3 sep. 1820, Nueva Orleans, La., EE.UU.). Arquitecto e ingeniero civil británico estadounidense. Emigró a EE.UU. en 1795. Su primera obra importante fue la penitenciaría del estado en Richmond, Va. En… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Latrobe,Benjamin Henry — La·trobe (lə trōbʹ), Benjamin Henry. 1764 1820. British born American engineer and the first professional American architect. His works include the Baltimore Cathedral (1805 1818) and the chambers of the U.S. Congress and Supreme Court. * * * …   Universalium

  • Benjamin Henry Bonneval Latrobe — Benjamin Henry Latrobe Pour les articles homonymes, voir La Trobe (homonymie). Portrait de Benjamin Latrobe Benjamin Henry Latrobe ou Benjamin La Trobe ou encore Be …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Benjamin Latrobe — Benjamin Henry Latrobe Pour les articles homonymes, voir La Trobe (homonymie). Portrait de Benjamin Latrobe Benjamin Henry Latrobe ou Benjamin La Trobe ou encore Be …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Benjamin La Trobe — Benjamin Henry Latrobe Pour les articles homonymes, voir La Trobe (homonymie). Portrait de Benjamin Latrobe Benjamin Henry Latrobe ou Benjamin La Trobe ou encore Be …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Benjamin Latrobe — Benjamin Henry Latrobe (* 1. Mai 1764 bei Fulneck, West Yorkshire; † 3. September 1820 in New Orleans, Louisiana) war ein US amerikanischer Architekt. Er ist bekannt für die Konstruktion des …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Latrobe — may refer to:People* Christian Ignatius Latrobe (1758 1836), clergyman, composer, musician * Charles La Trobe (1801 1875), the first lieutenant governor of the state of Victoria, Australia, son of C.I. Latrobe * Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1764 1820) …   Wikipedia

  • Benjamin Henry Latrobe — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Benjamin Henry Latrobe Benjamin Henry Latrobe (1 de mayo de 1764, Yorkshire 3 de septiembre de 1820, Nueva Orleans) fue un arquitecto e …   Wikipedia Español

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