Library of Congress Buildings

Thomas Jefferson Building (In Video at 0 seconds)

The Thomas Jefferson Building was designed by Washington architects Paul Pelz and John Smithmeyer, who took the Paris Opera House as their model. After construction was transferred to the Army Corps of Engineers in 1892, the work was directed by Edward Pearce Casey, who orchestrated a legion of artists and sculptors to decorate the inside and outside of the building. Immediately after it opened in 1897, the Library of Congress was widely considered to be the most beautiful, educational and interesting building in Washington.

John Adams Building (In Video at 16 seconds)

The Washington partnership of Pierson & Wilson was responsible for the design of the library’s second building, now named for President John Adams after being known for years simply as “the Annex.” A restrained and finely detailed art deco building, the John Adams Building features an exterior clad with Georgia marble. Its apparent bulk was reduced by holding the upper two floors back and projecting the end bays. The building opened in 1938.

James Madison Building (In Video at 33 seconds)

Opened in 1980, measuring 500 feet wide and 400 feet deep, the Madison Building is the largest library structure in the world -- encompassing 1.5 million square feet of space. The Madison Building serves both as the Library's third major structure and as this nation's official memorial to President James Madison. The undecorated colonnades attempt to echo classical columns while remaining faithful to canons of modern design.