University of Virginia

"This institution of my native state, the hobby of my old age, will be based on the illimitable freedom of the human mind, to explore and to expose every subject susceptible of it's contemplation."    Thomas Jefferson

This is a first glance at the Rotunda, the focal point of Jefferson's Academical Village.  It was modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, but at half its diameter and height.

This is a first glance at the Rotunda, the focal point of Jefferson's Academical Village.  It was modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, but at half its diameter and height.

The statue of Thomas Jefferson in front of the Rotunda is most appropriate.  He was the founder and deeply involved in all aspects of its creation, from curriculum, recruitment of faculty and campus design.  The University celebrates it bicentennial anniversary in 2017! 

The statue of Thomas Jefferson in front of the Rotunda is most appropriate.  He was the founder and deeply involved in all aspects of its creation, from curriculum, recruitment of faculty and campus design.  The University celebrates it bicentennial anniversary in 2017! 

Ah yes, that is, in fact, the moon over his shoulder.

Ah yes, that is, in fact, the moon over his shoulder.

Originally the Rotunda served as the Library.  It is the most recognizable symbol of the University.

Originally the Rotunda served as the Library.  It is the most recognizable symbol of the University.

In 1895, a fire destroyed most of the Rotunda, leaving only the brick walls intact.

In 1895, a fire destroyed most of the Rotunda, leaving only the brick walls intact.

The front garden area has numerous benches, art and shade.

The front garden area has numerous benches, art and shade.

This is one of the intimate gardens adjacent to the building.

This is one of the intimate gardens adjacent to the building.

This is a side view of the back side of the Rotunda, the back side being the one that looks across the lawn.

This is a side view of the back side of the Rotunda, the back side being the one that looks across the lawn.

This is the first thing that catches your eye as you enter the Rotunda. 

This is the first thing that catches your eye as you enter the Rotunda. 

If you turn around, away from the statue of Thomas Jefferson, you look across the lawn and at the end you see Old Cabell Hall.  A receptionist welcomes all students and visitors and is the source of some really good information about the facility.

If you turn around, away from the statue of Thomas Jefferson, you look across the lawn and at the end you see Old Cabell Hall.  A receptionist welcomes all students and visitors and is the source of some really good information about the facility.

The Rotunda has undergone several remodels.  In the 1970s, students, alumni and faculty raised funds to once again renovate the building to more closely align with Jefferson's original vision.  It re-opened in 1979.  Recently, another phase of renovation was completed to restore historical features and upgrade the utility systems.

The Rotunda has undergone several remodels.  In the 1970s, students, alumni and faculty raised funds to once again renovate the building to more closely align with Jefferson's original vision.  It re-opened in 1979.  Recently, another phase of renovation was completed to restore historical features and upgrade the utility systems.

Today the Rotunda houses large meeting spaces like this one and smaller conference rooms as shown in the photo above.

Today the Rotunda houses large meeting spaces like this one and smaller conference rooms as shown in the photo above.

Light comes from a large skylight at the top of the dome.

Light comes from a large skylight at the top of the dome.

The second floor circles the round Rotunda, looking down on the main floor.  Along the walls are small intimate desks and easy chairs. 

The second floor circles the round Rotunda, looking down on the main floor.  Along the walls are small intimate desks and easy chairs. 

If you look closely you can see the second floor desks and chairs.

If you look closely you can see the second floor desks and chairs.

This grassy space between the Rotunda and Old Cabell Hall is one of the most popular spots on the campus.  We were happy to see so few people, but admit that it was an early Saturday morning during the summer recess!  On either side of the Lawn you can see what is called the Range, a collection of Pavilions and dormitory rooms.

This grassy space between the Rotunda and Old Cabell Hall is one of the most popular spots on the campus.  We were happy to see so few people, but admit that it was an early Saturday morning during the summer recess!  On either side of the Lawn you can see what is called the Range, a collection of Pavilions and dormitory rooms.

This is an example of one of the Pavilions that surround the lawn.  There are ten of them and each has a unique design that serves as an example of a different architectural style.  The Pavilions are used as homes for faculty members and conference rooms.

This is an example of one of the Pavilions that surround the lawn.  There are ten of them and each has a unique design that serves as an example of a different architectural style.  The Pavilions are used as homes for faculty members and conference rooms.

There are 54 Lawn room which are coveted by rising 4th year students.  They lack modern conveniences such as air conditioning and lavatories.  This is the entrance into one such room.

There are 54 Lawn room which are coveted by rising 4th year students.  They lack modern conveniences such as air conditioning and lavatories.  This is the entrance into one such room.

As I walked by the rooms, a student emerged and invited me in to see the room he had stayed at for a week's class.  Yes, they are spartan indeed.  He mentioned that he hoped to be awarded one in the fall.  To live in one is a privilege, he informed me.

As I walked by the rooms, a student emerged and invited me in to see the room he had stayed at for a week's class.  Yes, they are spartan indeed.  He mentioned that he hoped to be awarded one in the fall.  To live in one is a privilege, he informed me.

There is renovation going on everywhere on campus.

There is renovation going on everywhere on campus.

Old Cabell Hall is also undergoing renovation.  It was completed in 1898.  The building includes an auditorium with incredible acoustics.  It is used for concerts, lectures and other public events.

Old Cabell Hall is also undergoing renovation.  It was completed in 1898.  The building includes an auditorium with incredible acoustics.  It is used for concerts, lectures and other public events.

This is a small house just beyond the Pavilions. It probably belongs to a faculty member.

This is a small house just beyond the Pavilions. It probably belongs to a faculty member.

This is the University Chapel.

This is the University Chapel.

The University of Virginia is a treasure trove of photographic opportunities.  If you have only one day to visit we recommend concentrating on the space between the Rotunda and Old Cabell Hall.  An early morning weekend trip is also a good idea as we found both parking and student activity to problematic during the week.