University of Virginia, Pavilions & Hotels, University Avenue & Rugby Road, Charlottesville, VA
Pavilions & Hotels, University Avenue , VA
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Documentation compiled after 1933.
Survey number HABS VA-193-B
Building/structure dates: 1817 initial construction
National Register Number: 70000865
Significance: In 1817 Thomas Jefferson surveyed, with his own instruments, the plot of land on which he intended to build the University of Virginia. The plot was sited along the ridge of a low hill running in a generally north-south direction, with the slope of the summit falling slightly to the south. At its highest point he located the Rotunda, the centerpiece of the university. To the south of the Rotunda he projected two parallel rows of buildings. The two wings were separated by an open lawn, and both extensions were unified to the Rotunda by a colonnade running for their entire length. Around this rectangle, about 200 feet wide and about 600 feet long, Jefferson planned his "Academic Village." The sloping crest of the hill was graded into a series of level plots, with each of the flat greens divided by a shallow terrace, the first with a fall of 35 inches and the second with a fall of 46 inches. The arms of the quadrangle - east lawn and west lawn - contained 10 manor houses and 54 student rooms. The mansions, called "The Pavilions," served as lecture halls on the first floor and as residential quarters for the professors on the second floor. The student rooms, 13'-9" in depth and 13' in width, are presently used for single occupancy. Double occupancy was the original custom, except for the smaller rooms south of Pavilion VII. These quarters, only 10'-8" in width, have been referred to, since the founding of the school, as "Bachelors' Row." All the rooms, except No. 50, have wood-burning fireplaces. In planning for the 10 Pavilions, Jefferson wrote that they should, "...exhibit models in architecture of the purest forms of antiquity, furnishing to the student examples of the precepts he will be taught in that art." The Pavilions, built as he conceived them, have been compared to a chess set carved by a master hand, each piece reflecting a single imagination but each piece stating an independent theme. For his working dimensions he turned to the various architectural copybooks he had imported from Europe and England many years before.
Jefferson, Pres. Thomas
Berry, Paul, Delineator
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
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