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John Russell Pope’s best buildings in D.C., mapped

From the Thomas Jefferson Memorial to the National Gallery of Art’s West building, take a look at some of this architect’s most memorable designs

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Those who know and love Washington, D.C., have come in contact with buildings designed by John Russell Pope, whether they know it or not. Pope’s Neoclassical buildings are scattered throughout the District, ranging from the Thomas Jefferson Memorial to the Textile Museum.

Pope, born in New York in 1874, studied architecture at Columbia University. He later traveled and studied in Italy and Greece and entered the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. When he returned to New York in 1900, he designed private homes, Union Station in Richmond, Virginia, a master plan for Yale University, and eventually public buildings in Washington, D.C.

Pope was so influential in the field of architecture that he became the first recipient of the Rome Prize, which allowed him to attend the American Academy in Rome. He also served as a member of the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts from 1912 to 1922, later serving as vice chairman from 1921 to 1922.

Now, there is an award named after him in order to recognize individuals who contribute to the creation of classical and traditional architecture in the D.C. Metro area.

For those who want to learn more about what other works Pope has designed in Washington, D.C., Curbed DC put together this map of homes, memorials, and art galleries.

Note: The mapped points have been ordered geographically, from the most north to the most south.

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1. The Meridian House

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1630 Crescent Place, NW
Washington, DC 20009

American Ambassador Irwin Boyle Laughlin purchased this site in order to have a home built for his collection of French paintings and Oriental porcelain. John Russell Pope was chosen as the designer with construction ending in 1923.

Approximately six years later, the Architectural Forum wrote, “Certainly the manner of this house has not in this country been better done, not only in terms of stylistic authenticity, but in terms of pure architecture, meaning good taste in selectivity, in elimination, in execution. It cannot from its nature do otherwise than set a standard which should endure permanently."

Still, the structure retains much of its original details, including the wrought-iron and marble-topped side tables, the rear and side gardens, and some of the furnishings. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Place in 1973.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Qwerty0

2. The Textile Museum

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2320 S St NW
Washington, DC 20008

Owned by the George Washington Universty Museum, this museum originally housed two buildings in Kalorama, one designed by Waddy Butler Wood and one by John Russell Pope.

Wood is known for designing the Woodrow Wilson House, the Masonic Temple, which is now used as the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and several residences.

Art collector George Hewitt Myers established the museum in 1925. The roughly 13,000-square-foot Myers home that was designed by John Russell Pope in 1913 features classical Georgian architectural designs. Wood’s and Pope’s buildings were joined in 1915.

Both properties were later added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Ariel Cetrone (WMDC)

3. House of the Temple

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House of the Temple
Washington, DC 20009

In Dupont Circle, this Masonic temple serves as the headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Inside, there is a museum devoted to Albert Pike, an attorney and Freemason who rewrote a number of the Scottish Rite rituals. Construction on the structure began in 1911 and ended 1915.

When John Russell Pope designed the building, he used the tomb of King Mausolus at Halicarnassus as his model. The library inside offers one of the world’s largest collections of materials on and by Scottish poet Robert Burns.

In 1932, the American Institute of Architects voted the House of the Temple the fifth most beautiful building in the world.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

4. DAR Constitution Hall

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1776 D St NW
Washington, DC 20006

Founded in 1890, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a lineage-based nonprofit for women who are descended from someone who was a patriot of the American Revolution. By the 1920s, DAR outgrew the Memorial Continental Hall and needed a space for its annual convention. This is where John Russell Pope comes in.

Pope designed the Neoclassical-style DAR Constitution Hall with over 3,700 seats and more than 50 boxes. It was later designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

5. The American Institute of Pharmacy Building

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2215 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037

This one-story, Vermont marble-covered building overlooks the slope leading to the Lincoln Memorial. Completed in 1933, the symmetrical building consists of a monolithic central block flanked by a “lower, subordinate element,” according to the National Register of Historic Places application.

It originally housed a museum, library, research laboratory, and offices. In circa 1962, Eggers and Higgins completed a three-story addition to the building.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977

Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Smallbones

6. National Archives Building

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700 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20408

It’s in this John Russell Pope-designed building that visitors can find the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The building, itself, is also a sight worth seeing.

Described as a “building within a building,” the National Archives offers Corinthian columns and porticos in the outer structure as well as an exhibition, coffered half dome, and two large murals inside.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

Photo via Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

7. National Gallery of Art’s West Building

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6th & Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20565

The National Gallery of Art is composed of two buildings, the East Building, designed by I.M. Pei, and the West Building, designed by John Russell Pope. These two buildings are also connected by a moving walkway and light sculpture, created by American artist Leo Villareal.

What makes the West Building unique is its Neoclassical style, which contrasts Pei’s H-shaped structure. Inside the Italian Renaissance galleries, there is travertine wainscot and hand-finished plaster walls. The building’s three-acre roof also includes skylights, allowing visitors to see into the galleries below.

The building was designed in 1937 and renovated from 2007 to 2009.

The exterior of the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. There is a large staircase and columns on the front of the facade. Photo via trekandshoot/Shutterstock

8. Thomas Jefferson Memorial

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701 E Basin Dr SW
Washington, DC 20242

Designed by architect John Russell Pope, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial features circular marble steps, a portico, a circular colonnade of Ionic order columns, and a shallow dome.

To build the memorial, Pope made references to the Roman Pantheon and Jefferson’s own design for the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. Construction completed in 1943.

Photo via Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

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1. The Meridian House

1630 Crescent Place, NW, Washington, DC 20009
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Qwerty0

American Ambassador Irwin Boyle Laughlin purchased this site in order to have a home built for his collection of French paintings and Oriental porcelain. John Russell Pope was chosen as the designer with construction ending in 1923.

Approximately six years later, the Architectural Forum wrote, “Certainly the manner of this house has not in this country been better done, not only in terms of stylistic authenticity, but in terms of pure architecture, meaning good taste in selectivity, in elimination, in execution. It cannot from its nature do otherwise than set a standard which should endure permanently."

Still, the structure retains much of its original details, including the wrought-iron and marble-topped side tables, the rear and side gardens, and some of the furnishings. The structure was added to the National Register of Historic Place in 1973.

1630 Crescent Place, NW
Washington, DC 20009

2. The Textile Museum

2320 S St NW, Washington, DC 20008
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Ariel Cetrone (WMDC)

Owned by the George Washington Universty Museum, this museum originally housed two buildings in Kalorama, one designed by Waddy Butler Wood and one by John Russell Pope.

Wood is known for designing the Woodrow Wilson House, the Masonic Temple, which is now used as the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and several residences.

Art collector George Hewitt Myers established the museum in 1925. The roughly 13,000-square-foot Myers home that was designed by John Russell Pope in 1913 features classical Georgian architectural designs. Wood’s and Pope’s buildings were joined in 1915.

Both properties were later added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

2320 S St NW
Washington, DC 20008

3. House of the Temple

House of the Temple, Washington, DC 20009
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

In Dupont Circle, this Masonic temple serves as the headquarters of the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. Inside, there is a museum devoted to Albert Pike, an attorney and Freemason who rewrote a number of the Scottish Rite rituals. Construction on the structure began in 1911 and ended 1915.

When John Russell Pope designed the building, he used the tomb of King Mausolus at Halicarnassus as his model. The library inside offers one of the world’s largest collections of materials on and by Scottish poet Robert Burns.

In 1932, the American Institute of Architects voted the House of the Temple the fifth most beautiful building in the world.

House of the Temple
Washington, DC 20009

4. DAR Constitution Hall

1776 D St NW, Washington, DC 20006
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/AgnosticPreachersKid

Founded in 1890, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) is a lineage-based nonprofit for women who are descended from someone who was a patriot of the American Revolution. By the 1920s, DAR outgrew the Memorial Continental Hall and needed a space for its annual convention. This is where John Russell Pope comes in.

Pope designed the Neoclassical-style DAR Constitution Hall with over 3,700 seats and more than 50 boxes. It was later designated a National Historic Landmark in 1985.

1776 D St NW
Washington, DC 20006

5. The American Institute of Pharmacy Building

2215 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20037
Photo via Wikimedia Commons/Smallbones

This one-story, Vermont marble-covered building overlooks the slope leading to the Lincoln Memorial. Completed in 1933, the symmetrical building consists of a monolithic central block flanked by a “lower, subordinate element,” according to the National Register of Historic Places application.

It originally housed a museum, library, research laboratory, and offices. In circa 1962, Eggers and Higgins completed a three-story addition to the building.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977

2215 Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20037

6. National Archives Building

700 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20408
Photo via Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

It’s in this John Russell Pope-designed building that visitors can find the original copies of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The building, itself, is also a sight worth seeing.

Described as a “building within a building,” the National Archives offers Corinthian columns and porticos in the outer structure as well as an exhibition, coffered half dome, and two large murals inside.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971.

700 Pennsylvania Ave NW
Washington, DC 20408

7. National Gallery of Art’s West Building

6th & Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20565
The exterior of the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. There is a large staircase and columns on the front of the facade. Photo via trekandshoot/Shutterstock

The National Gallery of Art is composed of two buildings, the East Building, designed by I.M. Pei, and the West Building, designed by John Russell Pope. These two buildings are also connected by a moving walkway and light sculpture, created by American artist Leo Villareal.

What makes the West Building unique is its Neoclassical style, which contrasts Pei’s H-shaped structure. Inside the Italian Renaissance galleries, there is travertine wainscot and hand-finished plaster walls. The building’s three-acre roof also includes skylights, allowing visitors to see into the galleries below.

The building was designed in 1937 and renovated from 2007 to 2009.

6th & Constitution Ave NW
Washington, DC 20565

8. Thomas Jefferson Memorial

701 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242
Photo via Orhan Cam/Shutterstock

Designed by architect John Russell Pope, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial features circular marble steps, a portico, a circular colonnade of Ionic order columns, and a shallow dome.

To build the memorial, Pope made references to the Roman Pantheon and Jefferson’s own design for the Rotunda at the University of Virginia. Construction completed in 1943.

701 E Basin Dr SW
Washington, DC 20242