ILMA of the Week: Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He previously served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801.

The principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy, republicanism, and individual rights, motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation; he produced formative documents and decisions at both the state and national level.

Along with the design of his own home, Monticello, Jefferson the architect is best known for his plans for the University of Virginia. Jefferson designed the initial buildings as an “academical village” in which students and professors would live, learn, and teach in community.

The original buildings were planned not only as housing for students and professors but also as models of architecture. Jefferson designed the most ambitious of the original buildings, the Rotunda, on the model of the Roman Pantheon. Today the University’s grounds are recognized as one of the most beautiful and important college campuses in the country.

Thomas Jefferson was a passionate student of architecture whose designs are among the most influential in the early history of the United States. As a student at the College of William and Mary he purchased his first book on the subject and later assembled one of the largest libraries on architecture in America. He was particularly influenced by the classical style of Andrea Palladio, who emphasized symmetry, proportion, and the use of columns. These principles then came to define the architecture of the early United States, first in Richmond, with Jefferson’s design of the State Capitol, and then in Washington, D.C., where he influenced decisions on the design of the U.S. Capitol and the White House. Jefferson is perhaps best known for his homes—Monticello, in Albemarle County, and Poplar Forest, in Bedford County—which became laboratories for Jefferson’s design interests and his many influences. Monticello, in particular, brought together Jefferson’s obsessions with classical forms and his admiration for contemporary France. During his retirement, Jefferson established the University of Virginia, creating a distinctive, U-shaped design of connected pavilions and a domed Rotunda circling a long, narrow green space. Along with Monticello, the university is considered to be one of the highlights of American architecture and cemented Jefferson’s legacy as a designer. MORE…

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook



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