Jefferson's most ambitious and last architectural undertaking was the construction of the University of Virginia. Elaborating this project, which is based on educational ideals that are both encyclopaedic and democratic, he departed from pre-existing British or American college planning schemes. The rational layout of this 'academic village' is inspired both by the principles of hygiene laid down by the hospital builders and by a symbolic architecture expressed by the hierarchy of volumes and the repertory of forms.
A half-scale copy of the Pantheon in Rome, which houses the library, dominates the academic village. The 10 pavilions housing the professors of the 10 schools that make up the university are deliberately based on a distinctive design and are intended to serve as an encyclopaedia of classical and neoclassical architectural designs. However, the connecting colonnades serve to give a feeling of unity to this space. The later construction of a building at the south end has unnecessarily transformed this triumphal way into an enclosed space.
When visiting the campus be sure to take one of the free guided tours of The Rotunda. A tour lasts about an hour and is well worth the effort if you are a history buff. Among the surprising facts offered by the tour guides is that in 1817 the cornerstone of the first building on campus was laid, not at the Rotunda, but at Pavilion VII. A placard near Pavilion VII describes the cornerstone event and is featured near the conclusion of the tour which ends on the Lawn.
Located on the Central Grounds convenient parking is available at the Central Grounds Parking Garage on Emmet Street.
The full serial ID number for UVA is 442-002