Little known, even to Washington natives, the National Building Museum is dedicated to architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning.
Located at 401 F Street NW in Washington, DC, the Museum occupies one of Washington's most impressive structures. The building, which originally housed the Pension Bureau and was later occupied by various government agencies, is widely recognized as a marvel of engineering. It was designed in 1881 by civil engineer and U.S. Army General Montgomery C. Meigs and completed in 1887.
An ingenious system of windows, vents, and open archways allows the Great Hall to function as a reservoir of light and air. The Italian Renaissance design, with a central fountain and eight colossal Corinthian columns is among the tallest interior columns in the world.
An exterior frieze wrapping around the entire building depicts a parade of Civil War military units. The frieze was designed by Bohemian-born sculptor Caspar Buberl (1834-1899). The frieze is made of terra-cotta and measures 1,200 feet long, 3 feet high.