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Texas State Capitol in the SkyscraperPage Database

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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 30, 2008, 4:48 AM
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KevinFromTexas KevinFromTexas is online now
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AUSTIN | Texas State Capitol | 311 FT / 95 M | 4 FLOORS | 1888

  • 311 feet tall
  • 4 floors of office space in original 1888 building.
  • 4 additional floors of office and parking space below ground in the 1993 Capitol Extension.
  • Construction lasted from 1882 to 1888.
  • 19th tallest building in Austin.
  • 5th tallest state capitol in the US.
  • Tallest building in the city for 86 years.
  • 1st 300+ foot tall building in Texas.
  • 586 feet wide.
  • 300 feet long.
  • 1,074,846 gross square feet.
  • 407,846 gross square feet in 1888 main building.
  • 667,000 gross square feet in the 1993 Capitol Extension below ground.
  • Topped by the 16 foot tall Goddess of Liberty Statue. Replica statue replaced the original one in 1985 which was restored, but ultimately was too warn.
  • Architect: Elijah E. Myers.
  • Cost at completion of main capitol building: $3,744,600 (1888 dollars).

I found this set of photos at Flickr.com taken by SummerTX
http://flickr.com/photos/summertx/

And photos by Cole_H (Old Skool) at Flickr.com
http://www.flickr.com/photos/colehug...7603574971137/

The Texas Capitol offers tours of the building. But tours of the dome only go to about the 5th level, really only about halfway up. Above that, it's off limits to the public, and has been for years. My grandma went up there as a child with her school's class.

These pictures show the upper most reaches of the dome. Have a look, because you don't get to see this very often.

This is a cutaway model of the dome at the Capitol Visitor center at the old General Land Office Building next to the Capitol, at 108 East 11th Street. This shows the inner workings of the Capitol dome. The Texas Capitol is one of only three domed buildings in the world to feature an inner and an outer dome. The other two is the St. Paul's Cathedral in London and St. Peter's Basilica in Rome (Vatican City). Most domed buildings use only stone for their walls. The Texas Capitol's dome walls are made of iron and copper.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://flickr.com/photos/summertx/13...7601828279679/


Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://flickr.com/photos/summertx/13...7601828279679/

From the first floor of the rotunda.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://flickr.com/photos/summertx/13...7601828279679/

From the 7th level. Ready to go up that spiral staircase??? It's ~160 feet above the floor.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://flickr.com/photos/summertx/21...7603567487542/

Attic spaces in the lower portion of the capitol.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://flickr.com/photos/summertx/21...7603567487542/

Looking down into a vent over the library of the Capitol. These vents are simply fabricated, decorative metal domes turned upside down to allow air to draft up into the attic spaces for ventilation. The vents are back-lit by a skylight in the roof.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://flickr.com/photos/summertx/21...7603567487542/

What it looks like from inside the library.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...61697/sizes/l/

Inside the attic space above the library. This area is in the lower portion of the Capitol in the "wings" of the building.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

!

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

Getting closer...the star on the ceiling of the dome of the capitol is a whopping 266 feet above the floor. Note that you can see some railing up there. I hope you aren't afraid of heights...

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

Windows in the upper portion of the dome. These windows are on the same level where you start at the spiral staircase. These are the 2nd to the last set of windows in the dome that allow sunlight into the interior of the dome. When you're standing in the dome on the first level, you can actually see these. Beyond this point, there is one more set of windows that allow sunlight into the interior of the dome (rotunda). Above that, all the windows in the dome only filter sunlight in through to the wall between the inner and outer dome. You may notice at night that some of the windows in the dome of the Capitol are dark, that's because those windows are actually outside of the inner dome walls and in the attic spaces of the dome. Since there's no lighting (or very little of it) in those spaces of the dome, it's dark.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

The spiral staircase.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

Columns around the dome. This is about the 6th level I believe. You can walk around outside on a wrap around "porch" around the dome. This is above the wings of the building, about 140+ feet up. Some of you may remember shortly after the first gulf war they had tied huge yellow ribbons around these columns. This is actually just before you go up the spiral staircase.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/


Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

The view.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

Inside the walls of the dome. This is inside the attic of the dome I believe. You can see some of the curvature of the dome there.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

A very close up, just 10 feet away from it, of the 8 foot star on the ceiling of the dome. This star hangs 266 feet above the floor.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

This staircase is above the dome inside the attic just above the star on the ceiling. From here this takes you into the lantern room to the very top of the Capitol.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

The beginning of the stairway. It starts as an angle over the dome, then ends with a platform where the spiral staircase then winds to the top.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

The view looking down. This from the around that railing I pointed out earlier just below (mere feet) from the star on the ceiling. 266 feet down. Imagine seeing this view in 1888 what that must have been like.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

Once inside the lantern room there is a door that leads out on to the highest outdoor platform of the Capitol. This must be about 280 feet up. Just another 15 feet up are the toes of the statue atop the capitol.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

The lantern room of the capitol contains the highest lighting of the capitol. These neon tubes create a reddish glow. These are aviation lights, to keep planes away of course.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/
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Old Posted Sep 30, 2008, 4:49 AM
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Make sure to check out the photo album below too. This was a husband and wife that had taken a special tour through the capitol that the general public never gets to see. The inner workings of the capitol is fascinating, and there's some amazing views from up there as well.


Cole_H (Old Skool)
http://www.flickr.com/photos/colehug...7603574971137/
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Old Posted Sep 30, 2008, 4:49 AM
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Windows in the upper portion of the dome. These windows are on the same level where you start at the spiral staircase. These are the 2nd to the last set of windows in the dome that allow sunlight into the interior of the dome. When you're standing in the dome on the first level, you can actually see these. Beyond this point, there is one more set of windows that allow sunlight into the interior of the dome (rotunda). Above that, all the windows in the dome only filter sunlight in through to the wall between the inner and outer dome. You may notice at night that some of the windows in the dome of the Capitol are dark, that's because those windows are actually outside of the inner dome walls and in the attic spaces of the dome. Since there's no lighting (or very little of it) in those spaces of the dome, it's dark.

Photo by SummerTX at Flickr.com - http://www.flickr.com/photos/summert...7603567487542/

I took the pictures below last month atop the Brackenridge Hospital parking garage.

In this picture, you can see the spiral staircase in the dome through the windows. Notice that those windows are lit, while the ones above and below are dark. That's because those windows don't go through to the inner dome wall into the rotunda, they just go into the outer one. So you're actually looking into the space between the inner and outer domes there. You can also see the columns and "porch" area that was pictured in the photos above. There's a door that leads out there. It's one of 4 outside observation deck levels on the capitol.


Full view of the dome. The lights inside the windows in the upper part of the dome just as it curves upward, are actually lights that are inside the attic space of the dome. This area would be above the star on the ceiling of the rotunda. Note that you can also see the blue windows above the library to the right above the wing of the building. In the photos in my first post, they were allowed in that room, which is actually an attic space above the library. That's where that vent was that I also posted about. You can also see the catwalk to the left that is used for roof access to the flagpoles at the south entrance to the capitol.


Zoomed in shot of the upper part of the dome. You can see the lights on inside those windows in the dome. Again, that's the attic space above the star over the rotunda. And of course the neon "light rods" in the lantern room used for aviation warning lights.






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Old Posted Sep 30, 2008, 11:16 PM
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Such a cool structure...I remember singing for the Queen of England in elementary school inside and was in awe of the place!!!!
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Old Posted Oct 1, 2008, 5:49 PM
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Amazing Shots! Its been 2 years since I last visited. Didnt even know it had an inner and outer dome. I wish I could go up there sometime. So why dont they allow people up there, is it dangerous or are they afraid many people will go up at the same time?
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Old Posted Oct 1, 2008, 7:36 PM
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I think it's a fire safety thing. Structurally, I'm sure it's secure. But with all those winding staircases it could be a safety hazard during a fire.

I had read that fact about the inner and outer domes, and the building being one of only 3 in the world like it, but I'm sure there are other domed buildings that must have inner and outer domes, because you can go up in them.

Even the US Capitol dome is open to the public (I think). It seems to be anyway. If you go to Flickr.com and type in US Capitol dome tour, there's a couple of albums there that have similar photo tours like this one of our capitol.
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Old Posted Oct 5, 2008, 6:01 PM
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IMO, the best structure of its kind in america, better than the U.S. capitol.
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Old Posted Oct 5, 2008, 7:34 PM
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Of course it's better than the US capitol. It's the Texas capitol.
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Old Posted Oct 7, 2008, 8:46 PM
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Some more of my pictures. I took these last January.





Here you can see the door above the dome below the lantern room that leads outside onto the walkway.


































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Old Posted Oct 8, 2008, 2:06 AM
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The Texas state capitol has a two level underground extension. What you see in the foreground is an outdoor plaza that's surrounded by the underground levels of the capitol.
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Old Posted Oct 8, 2008, 3:39 AM
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Two more pics from last year in October.



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