Architecture Around the World

Charlottesville, Virginia
The Home of Thomas Jefferson


mon ti CHELLO, - sello


1769-1784; enlarged 1796-1809




Roman Neoclassicism / Classical Revival / Jeffersonian Neoclassical

Official Home Page:

Also designed by Jefferson:

University of Virginia

TEXT Beneath Illustrations

Click on illustrations for larger size -- and additional information

East front where visitors would enter to see Jefferson

East entrance

East entrance clock and fanlight

East entrance

East entrance

Flemish bond brickwork

West front (the Jefferson family entrance). Note dome at far right

End of walkway: finial

Finial support


Keystone over rounded (Roman) arch


Frontispiece, Volume I, The Architecture of A. Palladio

Volume I, The Architecture of A. Palladio

Temple of Fortuna, Book IV, plates XXXV-XXXVII, The Architecture of A. Palladio

The Monticello Graveyard



Excerpted from
The Elements of Style: An Practical Encyclopedia of Interior Architectural Details from 1485 to the Present,
By Stephen Calloway and Elizabeth Cromley, ed.
NY: Simon & Schuster, 1991, p. 531

Thomas Jefferson

American lawyer, statesman (President 1801-9) and architect.

The author of the Declaration of Independence, he was also an influential architect (self-taught), introducing to the United States a robust Neo-classicism based on ancient Roman architecture and contemporary French Rationalism, which contrasted with the lighter Federal Style.

For his own house, Monticello,Virginia (from 1770), he first designed an essentially Palladian building, but later additions transformed it into a largely single-storey classical villa in brick, with a pedimented garden portico and shallow dome.

For the Virginia State Capitol, Richmond (1785-99), his design was derived from the ancient Roman Maison Carrée in Nimes, to which he was introduced while in Paris as American Ambassador (1784-9). The Capitol was the brst building in the United States designed in the form of a classical temple and was an important model for American public architecture of the period.

Jefferson also influenced the planning of Washington through his knowledge of European cities and classical architecture.

His design for the University of Virginia, Charlottesville (1817-26), as a group of separate faculty pavilions around a green, linked by colonnades, was possibly based on the Chateau of Marly, near Versailles. The Rotunda at the head of the green was based on the Roman Pantheon, halved in scale. Jefferson was an inventive designer, experimenting with geometric room shapes and practical ideas (e.g. for skylights, stairs and water closets)

Photos and their arrangement © 2004 Chuck LaChiusa
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