The US Capitol houses the legislative branch of the American government. The Senate occupies the building's north wing and the House of representatives is housed in the south wing.
Construction of the Capitol started in 1793, two years after an area ceded by Maryland was selected as the District of Columbia, site of the new capital. The original design was created by Dr. William Thornton, a Scottish physician. His design called for a domed building flanked by a southern and northern wing. The construction of the sandstone building was supervised by James Hoban, the architect of the White House. He would be followed by many more architects over the next two hundred years.