Rafael Guastavino revolutionized building construction in the United States upon his arrival from Spain in 1881. He brought a method of constructing structural vaults using a centuries old Catalan technique of laminating tile and mortar to America at a time when fire was a concern in urban environments. The structures he built were fireproof, and with the use of various types of tile and techniques, very beautiful.

Nebraska Capitol architect Bertram Goodhue built his career designing Gothic inspired churches in Boston and New York and was familiar with Guastavino’s work. In his designs, he often incorporated Guastavino tile, working with both Rafael Guastavino Sr. and Jr. When the time came for Goodhue to design the Nebraska State Capitol, he was fully aware of the capabilities of the Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company to produce functional and decorative tile. Goodhue used an assortment of their tile, Rumford, Akoustolith, and glazed polychrome ceramic tile.

Nebraskans wanted their new State Capitol to tell the story of the native American and pioneer heritage of the state. Goodhue enlisted mosaicist Hildreth Meiere to create mosaics for the vaulted ceilings and domes he was designing in the Nebraska State Capitol. Using Guastavino polychrome tile, Meiere interpreted the Thematic Program of Hartley Burr Alexander, Ph. D. In the Nebraska Capitol, Meiere and Rafael Guastavino Jr. created what would come to be recognized as the most spectacular Guastavino tile ceiling ever made.

View of Foyer arches featuring Guastavino Rumford and polychrome tile
Activities of Society mosaic panels created by Hildreth Meiere using Guastavino tile.
A polychrome panel with decorative border in foyer arch
Mosaic panel representing patriotism in foyer arch.
Meiere's panel portraying an architect symbolizes the arts place in society
Polychrome panel represents architecture as a part of the artistic activities of society.
Main entrance vestibule dome with agriculture represented in Guastavino tile
The Vestibule dome with circular mosaic representing agriculture and arches featuring wild animals of Nebraska.
Section of Vestibule dome including outer border with duck and sunflower
Vestibule arch featuring duck and sunflower
East Chamber dome
East Chamber dome with Rumford and polychrome tile creating a Native American themed design
polychrome and Rumford Guastavino tile
East Chamber dome polychrome eagle mosaic with smooth and textured Rumford tile.