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Local Family Constructs Detailed Model of U.S. Capitol in Their Garage

A Germantown family is assembling a model of the United States Capitol building that will be on display at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Headquarters in Orlando.

It's a massive model of the U.S. Capitol created from tens of thousands of bamboo sticks. Perhaps just as unbelievable, putting it together was a family affair and it's being built in the garage of Germantown resident Linh Vuong - stick by stick.

The model is 1/100 scale of actual U.S. Capitol building in Washington; it is over nine feet long and almost seven feet wide. It was designed, researched, and planned by master architect Hoang Tuan Long, with help from Germantown resident Linh Vuong and Loc Ha. The model is constructed of more than 300,000 Tam Giang or bamboo pieces which are 0.9 millimeters in diameter, according to Linh Vuong.

Originally, the artist Hoang Long, build a model of the U.S. Capitol dome using bamboo toothpicks. Long visited the office of Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen to show the model of the dome. A photo was taken, and Van Hollen’s office sent out a tweet with the picture, two days later the Washington Post picked up the picture used it on The Daily 202 PowerPost. It was after that when the Ripley’s museum contacted the artist about purchasing a full model of the U.S. Capitol.

Houng has constructed similar models of the One Pillar Pagoda, a historic Buddhist temple in Hanoi, Vietnam and a smaller scale version of the Taj Mahal.

For the last three months, the artist has been working out of the garage on Summer Sweet Terrace in Germantown to complete the East and West Wings of the Capitol, as well as the landscaping around the iconic building. In all the project took seven months with help from members of the Linh Vuong’s family and neighbors, as well as Loc Ha, and Dr. Tara VanToai.

Last weekend, the completed project was presented at the art gallery of the Cultural Arts Center of the Montgomery College, on the Takoma Park. The model is twelve different parts, each constructed of thousands of bamboo toothpicks, which were laser cut to be put together to form the completed Capitol structure.


Top: A local family has been working with a Vietnamese architect to construct a 1/100 scale detailed model of the U.S. Capitol out of 300,000 toothpicks in their garage in Germantown.

Next: The artist, Hoang Tuan Long, works with one of the younger construction works to make sure everything is correct.

Next: The family has been working on the project in their garage on Summer Sweet Terrace in Germantown.

Video: The completed project is lighted from within.

Next: Friends and neighbors have been stopping by for months to lend a hand to this project which will eventually be on display at the world headquarters of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Orlando.

Next: The painstakingly detailed work has required many hands and laser precision.

Photos and video courtesy Linh Vuong and Hoang Tuan Long.


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