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Who Designed The White House

Did you ever wonder who designed the White House? The architect and design was chosen from a pool of nine applicants. Thomas Jefferson decided to submit one, though he did so anonymously. Ultimately, George Washington, as the first President made the final call on July 16, 1792.

James Hoban

Who Designed The White House

Washington chose Irishman James Hoban’s design, but wanted a few modifications to make it less plain and more representative of the Presidency. The differences from Hoban’s design to Washington’s changes included a larger size (by 30 percent), the additions of the East Room and large reception hall.


Noticeable similarities exist between the White House and the Leinster House in Dublin, Ireland, especially in the exterior of the building. For example, the North Portico side of the White House contains four pillars roofed by a stunted triangle top. The Leinster house looks the same, except it has three floors instead of two main floors like the White House.

Other influences involve floor plans from a variety of Georgian-style houses and even the Chateau de Rastignas in France. Unfortunately, this claim cannot be proven because Hoban never visited France.

Who Designed the White House a Second Time?

Soon after Thomas Jefferson moved into the White House, he worked with Benjamin Latrobe to add the East and West Colonnades. These colonnades assisted in hiding the bland behind-the-scenes labor of the stables and laundry.

During the War of 1812, British troops set fire to Washington, D.C., including the White House. The only portion of the White House that survived was the outer wall, which needed to be rebuilt anyway due to bad structural integrity after the fire.

James Hoban entered the scene again and partnered with Benjamin Latrobe (who worked with Thomas Jefferson previously) to design the reconstruction. One major design addition didn’t occur until years later when James Monroe sanctioned the construction of the south portico (the north portico was added in 1830). Both porticos were built from Hoban’s designs.