The State Capitol, situated in Capitol Park, is a massive granite building crowning a hill overlooking downtown Albany.
It is one of only ten state capitol buildings in the United States without a dome.
The exterior, reminiscent of a giant French chateau, features pyramidal red tile corner roofs at the corners connected by long gray slate roofs; high dormers; chimneys, and balustrades; and a monumental eastern staircase extending 166 feet from the building.
Because of the many years of construction between 1867-98, it displays a mixture of styles and tastes. The exterior of the lower three floors is designed in the manner of the French Second Empire with Doric and Corinthian columns, arched windows, and rusticated stone work. The fourth floor is Romanesque. On the fifth floor the towers, cornices, and dormers suggest the style of Francis I. The pedestals and balustrades of the monumental front staircase and the many chimneys are French Renaissance.
British architect Thomas W. Fuller was the lead first lead architect, from 1867-1875. He is credited with the plan, general massing, and exterior decoration. A proposed tower could not be built because of soil conditions. After eight years of work with only three floors completed, he was fired.
Leopold Eidlitz and Henry Hobson Richardson took over as lead architects from 1875 to 1883. Eidlitz designed the north and east facades and the Assembly Chamber, and Richardson the west and south facades along with the Senate Chamber.
Construction was completed under architect Isaac G. Perry from 1883 to 1899. Perry is credited with much of the building's carving and interior paneling.
The west end was damaged by fire in 1911 and was fully reconstructed.
The Senate Chamber was restored by architect John Messick between 1978 and 1982.
Restoration of the Assembly Chamber began in 1997 under Françoise Bollack Architects.
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