Every four years, following the election of president of the united states, the U. S. Capitol hosts the inauguration of the president. Andrew Jackson was the first president to be inaugurated outdoors at the capitol, taking the oath from chief justice John Marshall. This ceremony on the East Front Portico began a tradition observed by most presidents until 1981 when inaugurations were moved to the west front.
The Architect of the Capitol supports the inauguration in a number of ways; perhaps the most visible is the building of the platform upon which the incoming president receives his oath of office from the chief justice and conducts his inaugural speech. The inaugural platform is constructed entirely from scratch in a period slightly more than three months for each inaugural ceremony. The platform for the 2009 inauguration was more than 10,000 square feet, the same size as the platform used for the 2005 inaugural which was the largest platform ever built for an inauguration. On inauguration day it held more than 1,600 people. In addition, bleachers built above the platform on the upper west terrace will hold another 1,000 people including choirs and guests.
It is built entirely of lumber to protect the surfaces of the Capitol, and the platform is fully ADA compliant. It is a stadium design which maximizes the sight lines for the guests on the platform. It is also designed to blend architecturally with the U. S. Capitol. In keeping with the sustainability efforts of the Architect of the Capitol, the entire structure is deconstructed, meaning each piece is carefully taken apart and then the lumber is donated to local charities to assist in housing projects. The Architect of the Capitol is honored to play this behind the scene role in one of America's most revered events