Capitol Visitor Center Interior

Inside the Capitol Visitor Center, the architectural treatment is decidedly contemporary yet respectful to the history of the Capitol. For instance, the walls of the central gathering space, Emancipation Hall, are lined with sandstone that matches the stone used in the Capitol's earliest construction history and seen in such historic rooms as the Rotunda. Classical columns copied from examples in the Capitol were also used in selected locations. Other designs and materials recall those in the Capitol and help relate the new addition to the older building. To overcome the claustrophobic feeling of being underground, and to keep visitors oriented, two expansive skylights flood Emancipation Hall with natural daylight. The skylights also provide dramatic views of the Capitol dome. The size of the two skylights offered structural engineers quite a challenge, but they are some of the Visitor Center's most dramatic and popular features.