Renwick built an elaborate and detailed model which was based on plans approved
by the Board of Regents. The painted model shows a three story central building.
To cut costs, the Regents directed that the number of floors in the building's
central section be reduced from the three shown here to two.
Renwick's model included two options for a second tower at the north entrance.
One, with a pointed roof, which contrasted with the taller flat-topped tower,
was selected by the Regents. The second option which matched the existing
taller tower would have given the building a symmetrical appearance. (The
model for the optional flat-tower is shown on the right side of the photograph.)
When the Smithsonian Building was built, it became a model for designers of collegiate buildings such as these:
Antioch Hall, Antioch College, Ohio (Original design: 1852)
The two tall central towers with round arch windows and a
false gable evoked the Smithsonian Building.
Davis Hall, Worcester Academy, Massachussetts (Original design: 1852)
Elbridge Boyden designed this building, originally a medical
college, in a medieval revival style similar to that of the
Douglas Hall, University of Chicago (1856-1886)
The asymmetry of the Smithsonian Building was reflected in the design of Douglas Hall, built in 1857-1866 for the first University of Chicago (1856-1886). Many featuresóthe tall front tower with its distinctive finials and round window, the oriel, the round arch windows, the battlements, and the buttressesólink this collegiate building with Renwick's design for the Smithsonian Building.
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