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Concept and Advisor’s Statement

The Capitol of a State is the outward sign of the character of its people. Their respect for its traditions and history, their belief in its importance and worth, and their love of its fair name; all find expression in its Capitol.

Concept and Advisor’s Statement

Foyer Tile Panel in Vaulting

Of Nebraska highway of progress, provider of man’s necessities, battle-ground of freedom, distributor of learning, home of the volunteer let the new Capitol be a symbol.

Rome’s greatest basilica is not the only legacy left by the architects of St. Peter’s. Michelangelo’s dome was chosen, but to the designs of San Gallo, Bramante, and other unsuccessful competitors, the world owes many of its greatest monuments!

Beside a noble Capitol for Nebraska, may not this competition yield to Architecture a wider heritage?

Statement by the Professional Advisor

The problem offered in this competition is that which faces the State of Nebraska, i.e. the selection of an architect to design and supervise the construction of a new home for its government machinery; and its solution is to be the test whereby the vision, skill, experience and wisdom of the competitors are to be evaluated and compared, in order that the architect best qualified to guide the Capitol Commission to a worthy conclusion if its undertaking may thereby be justly determined.

Personal Direction:
Since it is sought by means of this competition to correctly evaluate and justly compare the competitors, it is necessary that competitive showings be prepared in the regular office and under the personal direction of each competitor; and that in case of associations or partnerships specially effected for the purpose of making this competition, the above ruling shall apply to each or both offices.

It is further asked that any such association or partnership shall be declared before competitive work is begun as it is subject to the approval of the Nebraska Capitol Commission and if so approved must, in case of the competitor finally employed, continue throughout the whole time of that employment. Pages 7 and 8 of Preliminary Stage Program (Exhibit “E” herewith) bear on this subject.

It is desired in the actual building project to provide, under the guidance and control of the Architect, for real collaboration of Architect, Sculptor, Painter, and Landscapist; and to that end the competitors are asked to study the problem of how best to bring this about, and if thought advisable and to the degree so thought in each case, they should associate in their competitive work the Sculptor, Painter, and Landscapist, or either or any of them, with whom they would be likely to elect to work out the actual problem or any part or parts of it, in case of their final selection as Architect to the Nebraska Capitol Commission.

In this connection, it is suggested that caution be exercised lest selection of the same collaborators by more than one of the competitors should jeopardize the preservation of anonymity.

Authority, Etc.:
In the bill creating the Commission and inaugurating its task, is set forth all that is so far determined in regard to the project. It is offered in full as “Exhibit A” and as evidence of the authority under which this competition has been inaugurated.

It is pointed out, however, that the resulting building or buildings must not only adequately house present requirements but should provide for, or at least contemplate, future growth for a century to come. Regardless of obstacles, anything short of a great monument advantageously placed and properly environed will be nothing less than a complete failure. In this connection, competitors are reminded that their present task is to solve this problem, that in the solving their ability to grasp the undertaking with understanding and conceive its possibilities with vision, and to present and support the result in beauty and with wisdom, shall be clearly made manifest. In not undertaking to more definitely suggest the kind of Capitol wanted it is clearly the intention not to in any way limit the possibilities, by indicating any particular line of approach, either as to plan and scope or as to style, type or material.

Detail Study:
While all competitors have had an opportunity to visit Lincoln and become acquainted with the old building and its site, and to meet the members of the Nebraska Capitol Commission, occasion is here taken to remind them that ample opportunity will be afforded the winner of the competition for the fullest study of the problem in direct collaboration with the Commission, when the features of cost, site cubage, etc. can be gone into with a thoroughness not possible in a competition.

In the matter of site, however, competitors should consider the old site as fixing the location for the new. They are not, however, asked to confine themselves to present limits of the old site, if they desire to show a scheme that is too comprehensive to be so limited. In other words the site should be confined to the present location and its immediate surroundings, but should not be unreasonably extended.

Thomas R. Kimball
Professional Advisor
Nebraska Capitol Commission

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Capitol quick facts

  • Construction started in 1922, completed in 1932.
  • The architect was Bertram G. Goodhue.
  • There are 15 floors above ground.
  • The building is 400 feet tall.
  • It is the third Nebraska State Capitol.
  • It cost $9.8 million in 1932 dollars.

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1445 K Street
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Lincoln, Nebraska 68509–4696
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