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Benjamin Latrobe: America’s First Architect

Airs Monday, August 9, 2010 at 11 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Portrait of Benjamin Henry Latrobe by Rembrandt Peale, c. 1815. The life of Benjamin Henry Latrobe, the creator of the first uniquely "American" architecture, was a series of creative triumphs, personal tragedies and constant re-invention.

Benjamin Latrobe, creator of the first uniquely “American” architecture, designed the Baltimore Basilica, shown here at night.
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Above: Benjamin Latrobe, creator of the first uniquely “American” architecture, designed the Baltimore Basilica, shown here at night.

Noted architecture critic Paul Goldberger hosts this documentary biography of Benjamin Latrobe, the creator of the first uniquely "American" architecture. Latrobe's tumultuous life was a series of creative triumphs, personal tragedies and constant re-invention.

The film features computer-generated animation, interviews with architects and historians and location shooting as Goldberger explores Latrobe's life, from his early years in England to his immigration to the young republic and his work on such iconic buildings as the U.S. Capitol, the White House and the Baltimore Basilica.

Video

Ode To Benjamin Henry Latrobe

Above: On Nov. 4, 2006, a ceremony was held to mark the restoration and reopening of the Baltimore Basilica, designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe. He also designed the U.S. Capitol. The Hon. Alan M. Hantman, FAIA, pays tribute to Latrobe's talent and memory in his remarks. Mr. Hantmen is presently the Architect of the U.S. Capitol. Latrobe's maternal grandfather was John Henry Antes of New Frederick, PA, an immigrant from Germany.