002-5055

Rotunda, University of Virginia

VLR Listing Date

09/09/1969

NRHP Listing Date

10/15/1966

NHL Listing Date

12/21/1965
1965-12-21

NRHP Reference Number

66000937 (no formal nomination)

The Rotunda is the single-most important architectural achievement of Thomas Jefferson, who, had he pursued no other activity, would be considered one of America’s leading architects. Designed when he was over seventy and completed in 1826, the Rotunda was the principal element of Jefferson’s scheme for the University of Virginia. Jefferson modeled it after the Pantheon, which he considered to be the most perfect example of what he called “spherical” architecture. He divided the first two levels into suites of oval rooms for lecture halls. The domed top floor, with its ring of paired Composite columns, served as the university’s library. The Rotunda was gutted by fire in 1895. New York architect Stanford White designed a new interior, which departed from Jefferson’s plan, and added the north portico. The White interior was removed from the Rotunda in a mid-1970s attempt to recreate the Jeffersonian interior.

Last Updated: June 2, 2023

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Abbreviations:
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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