Walter, Thomas Ustick

Walter, Thomas Ustick, 1804–87, American architect, b. Philadelphia. In 1819 he entered the office of William Strickland in Philadelphia as a student. In 1830 he began practice, the county prison (1831) at Moyamensing, Philadelphia co., being his first important work. The main building of Girard College in Philadelphia, which he designed in 1833 and completed in 1847, was one of the most ambitious works of the classic revival. In 1851, Walter was appointed to design extensions for the Capitol at Washington, D.C., which had remained unchanged since the completion of Bulfinch's plans in 1830. Holding the post of government architect until 1865, Walter added the wings for the Senate and House of Representatives, as well as the soaring central dome of cast iron, replacing Bulfinch's low dome, and rebuilt the west front. At Washington, D.C., Walter also designed the interior of the Library of Congress and built extensions for the Post Office, the Patent Office, and the Treasury. For the Venezuelan government he designed a breakwater at La Guaira. One of the original organizers of the American Institute of Architects in 1857, he held its presidency from 1867 until his death.

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