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Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

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Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

Monticello was the plantation home of Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), author of the American Declaration of Independence and third President of the United States. He designed both the plantation home (1769–1809) and his ideal Academical Village (1817–28) situated eight km away in Charlottesville, in central Virginia. The Academical Village still forms the heart of the University of Virginia, and exhibits a unique U-shaped plan dominated by the Rotunda with pavilions, hotels, student rooms, and gardens arrayed in rows to its south. The buildings are excellent and highly personalized examples of Neoclassicism, shown in their relationship to the natural setting and their blending of functionalism and symbolism. They were inspired by deep study of classical and contemporary examples and reflect Jefferson’s aspirations for the character of the new American republic. Both works have drawn international attention from the time of their construction.

Jefferson’s Monticello and his Academical Village precinct are notable for the originality of their plans and designs and for the refinement of their proportions and décor. His house at Monticello, with its dome, porticos supported by Doric columns, and cornices and friezes derived from classical Roman buildings, and his Academical Village, with its Rotunda modeled on the Pantheon and its ten pavilions each offering a different lesson in the classical orders and architecture as drawn from published classical models, together invoke the ideals of ancient Rome regarding freedom, nobility, self-determination, and prosperity linked to education and agricultural values.


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