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United States Post Office

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1915, Graham, Burnham and Company. 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE
  • United States Post Office

When Daniel Burnham designed Union Station ( CH10), he did not envisage it as an isolated object in the landscape but rather as the central piece of a three-part composition where flanking subsidiary buildings would provide a properly monumental, yet subdued, frame for his greater building. Burnham's successor firm completed the post office just three years after his death, using what was to become a common facade treatment for monumental Beaux-Arts public buildings that primarily contained offices. The post office's giant Ionic colonnade imbedded in the wall effectively masks several office floors, as does the attic story set above and slightly back from the main entablature. The architects used a number of techniques to link the two structures: continuation of Union Station's material (white Bethel, Vermont, granite), uniformity of its height at the entablature line, inscriptions above the end pavilion entries, and classical vocabulary that established axial relationships with architectural features between the two buildings.

Writing Credits

Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee


What's Nearby


Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee, "United States Post Office", [Washington, District of Columbia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Buildings of the District of Columbia, Pamela Scott and Antoinette J. Lee. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993, 140-140.

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