LATROBE, Benjamin Henry
(b. 1764, Fulneck, England, d. 1820, New Orleans)

The Bank of Pennsylvania at Philadelphia

Pencil, ink, and watercolour on paper
Maryland Historical Society, Baltimore

This watercolour by the architect shows the Bank of Pennsylvania, built between 1789 and 1800, and unfortunately destroyed 60 years later.

This building was a quantum leap in American architecture. Its structure was laconic in its simplicity, and composed of a long rectangle whose two ends featured Greek-Ionic temple façade. The interior space was vaulted with a dome after the Pantheon. The beauty of the building lay in the harmonization of its volumes and the subtle design of the façades. Its central hall - the first in America to feature a stone vault - constituted a grandiose setting for the bank's business.