Pictured here is the Smithsonian Castle, located at 1000 Jefferson Drive, Washington DC. It is the oldest building on the National Mall, and its unique red castellated appearance makes it stand out, even among so many other iconic structures as there are here.
The castle was designed by architect James Renwick Junior and is made from red sandstone which came from Seneca Creek in Maryland. Its design is Norman and is a combination of 12th century Gothic and late Romanesque features.
When it first opened in 1855, the castle sat quite isolated from the city proper, with a canal dividing it from the main urban center. Its first purpose was as the home of Joseph Henry, the first secretary of the Smithsonian and his family. In the decades that followed its construction, the castle became the anchor for the development of the National Mall as more museums and government buildings began to spring up around it and the area came to resemble more as we know it today.
A fire in 1865 saw the upper parts of the north and south towers destroyed, but renovations allowed the east wing to be fireproofed and expanded to provide more office space. in 1968 a two year restoration program returned the building to its original Victorian era appearance, and in 1977 the castle won status of historic landmark.
Until 1881, all aspects of the Smithsonian were housed here, including laboratories, libraries, exhibitions, storage and of course the living quarters for the secretary and his family. In 1881, the US National Museum opened next to the castle to house most of these exhibits and this began the expansion of the Smithsonian complex.
Today, the Smithsonian complex is the worlds largest museum and research complex, being home to 19 museums, 9 research centers and hundreds of affiliated museums around the world. Its exhibitions cover areas as diverse as Tropical Research, Archives of American art, astrophysical observatories, national history, the National Zoo and much, much more. I could have easily spent two weeks visiting the Smithsonian alone.
Thanks for looking!
Critiques | Translate
timecapturer (49288) 2014-01-04 8:54
stand out shot this, with an amazing looking red building sandwiched between the blue and green so elegantly. I know how much you appreciate castles and this is a beauty. It must have looked so wonderful when separated from the main parts of the City when opened. Still looks imposing and magnificent today.
Enjoy the weekend - Brian.
Thanks for your kind comments today on my 1,000th. Very much appreciated. Stay dry, its wet again outside! :-). B.
carlo62 (34490) 2014-01-04 9:20
un cielo blu quasi irreale incorona questo magnifico castello, bellissimo nella sua architettura.
L'ambiente circostante ci offre le dimensioni grandi della costruzione.
Il suo colore contrasta magnificamente con il cielo e gli alberi.
gildasjan (41702) 2014-01-04 9:24
J'aime beaucoup la complémentarité des coule entre les couleurs brique de cette architecture et le bleu profond de ce ciel.
Bonne année 2014 à vous et à votre famille.
Miguel82 (24727) 2014-01-04 9:45
A fantastic shot Noel, so bright colors and powerful luminosity, an imposant edifice, so huge castle, a brillant picture, all the best Noel, greetings
aleXundar (1256) 2014-01-04 10:25
Oh, this is outstanding! The gorgeous colors of sky and the greens are so matching with the brick colored castle that it is an instant eye-catcher. Wonderful composition with the row of trees in front of the castle. I like the colorful cars too.
jurek1951 (42160) 2014-01-04 10:41
a beautiful photo of this castle with spectacular composition, great details and the POV is superb,
cornejo (32746) 2014-01-04 10:51
Hi Noel, very good picture of this beautiful and interesting building, very well captured in this beautiful well framed image with good sharpness, depth, light and color. Very good and interesting job well done, congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this beautiful work.
Good night and good Sunday.
All the best from southern Spain.
dta (68096) 2014-01-04 10:59
Hello Noel ,
A superb red castle , betwen greenery and blue sky . The combination of colors is attractive , and the architecture is stunning .
rigoletto (34269) 2014-01-04 12:22
hi noel. i bet you have some space shuttles to show us from the national mall, or some work of dali :) you had a great day out, apparently as mild as it could be. beautiful architecture in red brick. nowadays, i see bruges everywhere: the tower is almost the long lost twin of bruges belfry :)
jjcordier (76976) 2014-01-04 23:02
Très bonne photo de ce château à l'architecture spectaculaire. Très belle lumière.
emka (80912) 2014-01-04 23:48
fantastic view of this red castle against intensive blue sky. The smithsonian museums are really wonderful and , what is also important, FREE. I saw them all :). superb shot.
Warm regrads Malgo
SnapRJW (31613) 2014-01-05 0:14
Hello Noel - The towers and turrets rise up and contrast well with the bright blue sky here and the greenery adds a further colour contrast. A fascinating building the architecture of which looks back to earlier times. Warm regards Rosemary
Subhogen (4065) 2014-01-05 2:45
That's a picture perfect shot of this historic building.
The architecture of this impressive building and the blue sky are the 2 stars of this photo and you have captured and presented them brilliantly. The colors and light are superb and the contrast that they present is so eye-catching. Thanks for a brilliant presentation with an excellent note.
snunney (85659) 2014-01-05 2:48
I had the opportunity of visiting this most interesting building and museum back in 1985 and again some ten years later. Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in Washington DC. Your point of view shows the unusual architecture to great effect despite the surrounding trees. The image is well lit and has excellent colours and sharpness.
marabu61 (8721) 2014-01-05 4:59
This modern castle is quite different than the ones you show us usually from your home in Ireland. Whereas the irish castles are so full of history and character, this one is rather plain. But the red stone contrasts beautifully with the blue sky and the greenery surrounding it and thus makes for an attractive composition non the less.
have a great sunday
Romano46 (18466) 2014-01-05 6:38
la foto è dominata dal bel contrasto tra i rossi della costruzione e il verde del paesaggio con il particolare e bellissimo fondale del cielo azzurro.
Soggetto e composizione di grande bellezza, caratterizzati da una nitidezza impeccabile.
Un'altra bella cattura del tuo viaggio negli USA.
Ciao e buona domenica
mkamionka (30903) 2014-01-05 12:15
I see plenty of new uploads in your gallery.
This is a very interesting place and completely unknown for me. I am really glad that you show it. The architecture is so pretty and captured with a stunning blue sky as a background. It goes well with the red structure and well saturated green foreground.
npecanhuk (66862) 2014-01-05 12:20
Special regards to the horizontal format, chosen pov, composition and exposure!
TFS - congrats,
bona (13037) 2014-01-05 14:05
I didn't know this castle. It is very attractive and the red against this clean blue sky result in a nice photo.
Sonata11 (33298) 2014-01-05 20:11
Hello Noel, very beautiful composition of this impressive castle. Very beautiful. I wish to see it inside. Wonderfully executed and fantastic presentation.Fantastic sharpness, clarity, POV and DOF as well. Awesome.
All the best to Yu and Your family in a New Year. Barbara
omid266 (5620) 2014-01-06 7:07
Salam Noel , *****
Very nice ,well done friend!
Always the Castles are intersting for me ,
All the Best ,
God save you !
Thanks again ,
Omid - I.R.IR
Periko (2815) 2014-01-06 17:34
This is a big and beautiful castle, with an attractive mixture of styles. Its size and color make it a striking landmark.
Thanks for sharing
krzychu30 (15498) 2014-01-07 2:16
the architecture is impressive,but what I like here even more is the strong graphics of the image.Colors,their saturation as well as contrast between them make the shot really eye-catching!
Blue sky as a backdrop for the red bricks Castle looks amazing.
Well done my friend!
Have a nice day
Kamilutka (8095) 2014-01-08 4:08
great red brick building stands out from the surroundings. I love the cloudless and bright blue sky as a background - it makes the picture so cheerful.
Well chosen POV and smartly placed other details of the composition.
ourania (32825) 2014-01-15 10:57
I like very much this wide point of view and the elegant perspective you have given it. The architecture is austere but fascinating and your framing exalts the fine rhythm of the towers. The surroundings look delightful and your light and contrast management has given a delicious richness and brilliance to the colours. A place of really inexhaustible interest! Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great evening,
adores (38202) 2014-01-16 15:49
In spite of being a new castle, the architecture looks very interesting and the colours makes it stand out. I like the way you framed it, with the towers rising from behind the trees. It seems huge compared to the people. Very good light and colours!