James Hoban and The White House Is James Hoban the best Irish born architect ever? I will let you decide after you read his story. James Hoban was born in Callan, County Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1758 in a small house. His catholic parents worked as servants in Desart Court which was a grand mansion. Early on in his life he was disadvantaged because of the anti-Catholic Penal law.  The law stipulated Hoban was not allowed to go to school but he still managed to go to the Royal Dublin Society where he took architecture classes.
Unfortunately, he was not able to land a job in Ireland. When the American revolutionary war ended, he decided to move to the United-States. At first he lived in Charleston, South Carolina where he built the first South Carolina State House and the Charleston Theater. Wanting wanted more opportunities and being able to build something bigger, Hoban decided to move to Philadelphia. As soon as he settled there he put an ad in the paper saying “Any gentleman who wishes to build in an elegant style. “(Heritage, p. 38).
Then he helped build the first Bank of America. He was not fully credited for that project because he had to share it with Samuel Blodgett who helped design it. A major event in James Hoban’s life happened when he met the first American president, George Washington. Having met Washington did not bring anything great to his career until the President got fed up with French architect Enfant. That was good for Hoban’s career because Enfant was supposed to be the one to build the White House but because he was too slow Washington decided to fire him.
After firing Enfant, George Washington created a contest to decide who was going to design the White House. Since Washington had met Hoban and liked him, he decided to invite him to take part of the contest. Hoban and 15 other contestants, including Thomas Jefferson, designed what they thought would be the perfect president house. Hoban ended up winning the contest. Washington was not pleased with any of the designs but thought that the one Hoban had drawn was the best. So Hoban started working with the president to design the perfect Presidential House.
One of the changes Washington wanted Hoban to make was regarding the size of the house. President Washington wanted a big house. Once they agreed on the drawing, Hoban started the construction. But he had a problem: the basement had already been constructed by Enfant and it was way too big for the house Hoban had designed.  He found a solution and was able to build it anyways. Then when the House was almost finished, Washington’s term expired: he never got to live in the White House, even though he had been a big influence in it’s construction.
Then President Adams was elected and he liked Hoban so much that he decided to give him a promotion and made him chief architect of the capitol. Then the White House was finally ready to move in. But Adams only stayed there for four months because Thomas Jefferson got elected. One of the first things he did as the President was to fire Hoban and name himself as the chief architect of the capitol. Some people say that it is because he was jealous about Hoban winning the contest, but we will never know. James Hoban was hired back when James Madison became president.
And his task would be as big as the first one because he had to re-build the house after the English burned it. At first, Hoban thought he would not have to start from scratch since the base would already be there. But when he went to see the house he realized that he would have to build the whole house once again. Madison knew that he would never be able to live in it so he lost a bit of interest in the project.  But when President James Monroe got elected he decided that he wanted to move into the house as soon as possible. He gave Hoban a short deadline to complete the house.
Hoban was confident that he could finish building the house before the deadline. That was before Monroe decided to move in the house even before it was completed. Making it even more difficult for Hoban to finish building it but he was finally able to complete it just a bit after the deadline. Within less than a year after the architect finished building the White House, Hoban passed away. He was buried at the St-Patrick Catholic church, which he had helped build. After what you have learned about the history of James Hoban, do you think he is the most important Irish architect ever?
First, the White House is the oldest public building in Washington (Thornton). It has been renovated many times but it still has the same base upon which Hoban built it. It still has 2 rooms that have not even been touched since they were built. The White House is one of the most important buildings in the world, since it is the house of the President of the most important country in the world. Not only was James Hoban the White House architect, he encountered a lot of problems during construction. The White house is not the only building he designed.
Here is a list of the other buildings he constructed or helped build: Prospect Hill Plantation, First Bank of the United States, McCleery House, The William Seabrook House, Baum-Taft House, Oak Hill, Rossenarra House, The First South Carolina State House, The Charleston Theatre, and St. Patrick’s Church. Probably the second most important building James Hoban helped build was the First Bank of the United-States. One of the reasons why that building rates second is that it still stands today. Most of the other buildings that he constructed or helped build have been demolished today.
The Bank of America is something really symbolic because it was the first bank. I hope that this research paper helped you see how great James Hoban was. Personally I think that he was the greatest Irish architect ever.
Kelly, Niall. “THE MAN WHO BUILT THE WHITE HOUSE–TWICE. ” American History 35. 5 (2000): 46. Academic OneFile.  Kelly, Niall. “THE MAN WHO BUILT THE WHITE HOUSE–TWICE. ” American History 35. 5 (2000): 46. Academic OneFile.  Kelly, Niall. “THE MAN WHO BUILT THE WHITE HOUSE–TWICE. ” American History 35. 5 (2000): 46. Academic OneFile.