Rotunda - GOR-109699-15
the Rotunda, in the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Custom House, which is oval in shape and is one hundred and thirty-five feet long, eighty-five feet wide, and forty-eight feet high. The ceiling of the rotunda is a dome. It is one of the tile-and-plaster, vaulted masterpieces of the Spanish engineer Guastovino. It weighs one hundred and forty tons and contains no steel. In the center of the dome is an oval ceiling sash surround by painted murals with a skylight above
The rotunda of the custom house is flanked on three sides by the museum's main exhibition galleries.
Shells, marine creatures, and sea signs abound throughout the interior, as befits a tribute to New York's preeminence as a seaport. Monumental arches and columns highlight the symmetry of the great hall. Off this spectacular lobby is the ornate Collectors Reception Room, its walls oak-paneled by the Tiffany Studios. The immense arch of the custom house's magnificent elliptical rotunda was built according to the principles of Spanish-immigrant engineer Rafael Guastavino (1842–1908). The ingenious design allowed the rotunda's 140-ton skylight to be constructed without visible signs of support.