Most Beautiful Room

A site dedicated to the visual analysis of lost architecture and art

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1814 to 1900 time lapse


This site is dedicated to my investigations and reconstructions of lost architecture and art. By remaking my subject buildings and landscapes as computer models, images, and animations, I can study their design visually, spatially, tectonically, and abstractly. The reconstruction of lost architecture is based on deciphering and analyzing notes, letters, maps, drawings, photographs, and other materials - and then synthesizing built form through a variety of methods.

Graphic and digital dimensions of architectural history are now essential to our stories - written descriptions alone are inadequate. Benjamin Henry Latrobe, America's first professional architect, knowing this, wrote in 1807: "To give an adequate description of a building unaccompanied by drawings, is always a vain attempt ... ".

The forensic methods I've developed are applicable to many disciplines, such as academics, engineering, archaeology, and law. Please contact me for design, architectural analysis, consultation, or fine art visualization.




8-31-2014, CBS Sunday Morning with Mo Rocca

Six of my digital recreation images were used in today's CBS Sunday Morning segment on the burning of Washington, which happened 200 years ago on 24 August. I'm very excited to be a part of this first-class production which includes Architectural Historian Emeritus William C. Allen.

7-12-2014, Beersheba Springs Historical Society

I'll give a talk to the Beersheba Springs (TN) Historical Society on the design of the classical log cottages and the site plan of the original 1855 community.

3-26-2014, Evergreen Museum & Library, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore

I gave a lecture on the lost architecture of the Jefferson-era Capitol, as designed by B. Henry Latrobe. Most of the building's interiors were gutted by fire in 1814. My recreations and lighting studies bring the chambers back to life. Many thanks to the Evergreen House and Curator James Abbott for inviting me to speak. By the way, go visit this fabulous house museum in Baltimore.

2-19-2014, U.S. Capitol Historical Society, Washington, DC

I lectured on the lost architecture of the Jefferson-era Capitol, as designed by B. Henry Latrobe. Most of the building's interiors were gutted by fire in 1814. My recreations and lighting studies bring the chambers back to life. This talk was taped and is available on CSPAN3.


Lecture at the Jewish Center of Princeton.


The U.S. Capitol Historical Society awarded me another fellowship for my research on the Capitol.




My fifteen page article for The Capitol Dome has been published by the USCHS and includes several full page recreation images of the lost 1814 Capitol created by Latrobe and Jefferson.


I'm writing another article about my research, this one is for The Capitol Dome, the magazine of the U.S. Capitol Historical Society. It'll have the all the latest images. I'll let you know when it's published.


I wrote a Guest Blog about depiction of the Capitol in Spielberg's movie "Lincoln" for It was disappointing that Spielberg was so diligent in getting certain details perfect, like the ticking of Lincoln's watch, but made the Capitol so terribly wrong.


Take a look at my short movie trailer posted here. The struggle to build the Capitol during Jefferson's administration is an incredible tale of brilliant design and construction and of incredible perseverance. I will be reposting my project on Kickstarter soon, so keep an eye out.


My interview made the cover of the Daily Single. Here's the pdf.


My article about America's first Statue of Liberty (1807-1814) in a research journal at the Ecole Polytechnique (page 67). Le Libellio d'Aegis.


My Kickstarter Launch! Go now and help make this movie a reality! It's a major contribution to architectural history and to the American experience. Go to Kickstarter.


My drawing of the Capitol under construction won an Award of Excellence from ASAI.


See Richard's recent article and his ground-breaking images in Le Libellio d'Aegis, published at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris.


Profile of Richard Chenoweth in Vanderbilt Magazine.


My reconstruction of the Paris grain market from 1786 won an Award of Excellence from ASAI.

about the artist
Washington slideshow 1915
Washington slideshow 1927
Washington slideshow 1936

CBS Sunday Morning
Segment on the burning of Washington, 2014-08-31

The producer of Sunday Morning used six of my recreation images and animations in this piece about the burning of Washington. Correspondent Mo Rocca interviews Architectural Historian of the Capitol (Emeritus) William C. Allen as well as White House Curator, William Allman.

CBS 60 Minutes
Segment on the history of the Capitol dome, 2013-12-01

Television program 60 Minutes interviews Architectural Historian of the Capitol (Emeritus) William C. Allen, Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers, and Historian Lonnie Bunch on the history of the Capitol's dome.

The funeral of Hiram Cronk and your place in the space-time continuum

In 1905, a funeral parade was held in New York City for the last surviving veteran of the War of 1812, Hiram Cronk (1800-1905).
If you're about my age, your grandfather could have witnessed Cronk's procession. That potentially links you, through your grandfather, and Cronk, with the lives and times of Latrobe, Jefferson, Dolley Madison and others. It's amazing how close historical events really are in spacetime.
Fascinating to think he may have climbed to the roof of the Capitol for a better view of the city, as many visitors did, and had seen the Sitting Liberty...
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