Bulfinch, Charles


Bulfinch, Charles
born Aug. 8, 1763, Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony
died April 4, 1844, Boston, Mass., U.S.

First professional U.S. architect.

He studied at Harvard University and then toured Europe, visiting major architectural sites in France and Italy. Most of his works incorporate Classical orders and show a mastery of proportion. Chiefly a designer of government buildings, he served as architect of the U.S. Capitol in 1817–30. He used the plans of his immediate predecessor, Benjamin H. Latrobe, for the wings but prepared a new design for the rotunda. His son Thomas Bulfinch (1796–1867) wrote the famous Bulfinch's Mythology.

* * *

▪ American architect
born Aug. 8, 1763, Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony [U.S.]
died April 4, 1844, Boston, Mass.
 first American professional architect, who gained fame chiefly as a designer of government buildings.

      After studying at Harvard University (1778–81), Bulfinch toured Europe (1785–87) and, on the advice of Thomas Jefferson, whom he met in Paris, visited many of the major architectural works of France and Italy. In London he became acquainted with the Neoclassicism of the Scottish-born architect Robert Adam, and he was largely responsible for introducing the Adam style into the United States. Most of his works incorporate classical orders and show a mastery of proportion.

      Among Bulfinch's works are the Massachusetts State House, Boston (designed 1787–88; built 1795–98; extant in the late 20th century but greatly altered); the Connecticut State House, Hartford (1792–96; now the city hall); and the Maine Capitol, Augusta (1828–31). Bulfinch was the fourth in the succession of architects of the United States Capitol, Washington, D.C. Serving in this capacity from 1817 to 1830, Bulfinch used the plans of his immediate predecessor, Benjamin Latrobe, for the wings, but he prepared a new design for the rotunda.

      In 1787 Bulfinch helped to promote the first circumnavigation of the Earth by an American ship (the Columbia, commanded by Robert Gray). As a member (1791–95, 1799–1817) of the Boston board of selectmen, he directed the improvement of the local street system and of Boston Common and its surroundings.

Additional Reading
Harold Kirker, The Architecture of Bulfinch (1969).

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • BULFINCH, Charles — (1763 1844)    Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Charles Bulfinch is thought to be the first native born North American architect. After studying at Harvard, he traveled across Europe, where he was introduced to the classical architecture of… …   Historical Dictionary of Architecture

  • Bulfinch, Charles — (8 ago. 1763, Boston, Massachusetts Bay Colony, EE.UU.–4 abr. 1844, Boston, Mass.). Primer arquitecto profesional estadounidense. Estudió en la Universidad de Harvard y luego recorrió Europa visitando los más importantes lugares arquitectónicos… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bulfinch,Charles — Bul·finch (bo͝olʹfĭnch ), Charles. 1763 1844. American architect whose major works include the Massachusetts State House in Boston (1798) and the completion of the U.S. Capitol (1830). * * * …   Universalium

  • Bulfinch, Charles —  (1763–1844) American architect …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Charles Bulfinch — Born August 8, 1763(1763 08 08) Boston, Massachusetts …   Wikipedia

  • Charles — Charles, Ray * * * (as used in expressions) Adams, Charles Francis Addams, Charles (Samuel) Atlas, Charles Babbage, Charles Barkley, Charles (Wade) Charles Daly Barnet Bartlett, Sir Frederic C(harles) Baudelaire, Charles (Pierre) Charles Edward… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Bulfinch Triangle Historic District — Infobox nrhp | name =Bulfinch Triangle Historic District nrhp type = hd caption = location= Boston, Massachusetts lat degrees = 42 lat minutes = 21 lat seconds = 50 lat direction = N long degrees = 71 long minutes = 3 long seconds = 41 long… …   Wikipedia

  • Charles — /chahrlz/, n. 1. (Prince of Edinburgh and of Wales) born 1948, heir apparent to the throne of Great Britain (son of Elizabeth II). 2. Ray (Ray Charles Robinson), born 1930, U.S. blues singer and pianist. 3. Cape, a cape in E Virginia, N of the… …   Universalium

  • Charles Bulfinch — est un architecte américain, (Boston, Massachusetts 8 août 1763 id. 15 avril 1830). Le capitole de Boston, dessiné par Charles Bulfinch Biographie Diplômé de Harvard en mathé …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Bulfinch — is a surname belonging to several people: * Charles Bulfinch (1763 ndash;1830), an American architect * Thomas Bulfinch (1796 ndash;1867), an American writer best known as author of Bulfinch s Mythology …   Wikipedia