Virginia's Chrysler Museum of Art is staging an exhibition that will look at the contradictions at the root of much of the early architecture of the United States. The show will focus on Thomas Jefferson, one of the nation's "founding fathers," who designed neoclassical buildings inspired by ideals of freedom and democracy that were constructed by slaves. Jefferson's life as both an idealistic revolutionary who fought for liberty and justice, and as an opponent of racial mixing who fathered several children with Sally Hemings, one of the people he enslaved, has become emblematic of the country's philosophical inconsistencies, and the exhibition will explore the brutal realities of the young republic. The show will display models and drawings of Jefferson's designs, including a proposal for the president's house, pictured above, alongside photos and tools of people like Isaac Granger Jefferson, who was held as a working slave at Jefferson's Monticello estate. “Thomas Jefferson engaged with the most advanced ideas of architecture and city planning of his era. He was also a slave owner who failed to resolve his ideals about freedom and democracy with his reliance upon the institution of slavery. We will examine these facets of Jefferson’s architectural formation and practice to foster a new and fuller understanding of his accomplishments,” said Chrysler Museum director Erik H. Neil in a statement. The show will also feature examples of the work of Andrea Palladio, whose work deeply influenced Jefferson. Palladio's Pantheon was an inspiration for Jefferson's work at the University of Virginia. The Palladio Museum in Vicenza, Italy, collaborated with the Chrysler Museum on the show and loaned several of the models that will be on view. Thomas Jefferson, Architect: Palladian Models, Democratic Principles and the Conflict of Ideals will be on view at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, Virginia, from October 19 to January 19, 2020.
Posts tagged with "Thomas Jefferson":
Thomas Jefferson embraced the architecture of Andrea Palladio as model for 18th century America, but he never actually visited any of the Veneto architect's buildings. Instead he came to know Palladio through Giacomo Leoni's first English translation of Quatro Libri dell'Architettura published in 1721. Now a beautifully-realized photographic exhibition, Found in Translation: Palladio–Jefferson, at the Canadian Center for Architecture in Montreal subtly focuses on Jefferson's translation of Palladian architectural form into buildings for the new democratic nation. Created and conceived by the Italian photographer Filippo Romano and Guido Beltramini, director of the Palladio Museum, the show features side-by-side images of Palladio's Veneto buildings and Virginia 'replicas' in the master's style. The exhibit also features original Palladio and Leoni books. Rather than focus on the American translation—which many scholars and artists have already done—this show highlights the American structures as a way of highlighting the master's resilient but irreducible Italian architecture. Romano's images all foreground the architecture in contemporary situations—being visited, for example, by tourists—to remove a second time from its original context and further highlight the architecture's enduring principles. The show runs until February 15th in the CCA's Octagonal Gallery and bookstore.
Landscape architect and OLIN principal Laurie Olin has been awarded a 2013 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal for Architecture by the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello. The award recognizes leaders who exemplify the actions and goals that Thomas Jefferson, an architect himself, would have admired. The medal will be awarded to Olin on April 12, the day before Jefferson's birthday, and he will be delivering a lecture at the UVA School of Architecture. We assume he will be sporting a bow tie. “Laurie Olin is one of the most revered landscape architects of our time,” Kim Tanzer, UVA's architecture dean, told UVA Today. “He is an inspiring teacher, an extraordinarily talented and prolific designer, and an international thought leader in environmental design. From his drawings and writings to his built projects, he has set an amazing example for several generations of landscape architects. We are thrilled he will become the 2013 Thomas Jefferson Medalist in Architecture.” Past architecture winners have included Mies van der Rohe, I.M. Pei, Frank Gehry, and Maya Lin. The other two recipients this year were Teach for America founder Wendy Kopp and FBI director Robert S. Mueller III.
No one really knows what Thomas Jefferson's Rotunda, modeled after the Pantheon in Rome, representing the enlightened human mind, and standing at the head of the University of Virginia's Academical Village lawn in Charlottesville, VA, looked like originally. The structure burned in 1895, the result of an electrical surge from a local streetcar line, and records of the original design are not complete. Over the years, various generations have rebuilt and restored the structure according to their own interpretations of Jefferson's design and to the needs of the time. Now 40 years after the last major renovations took place for the nation's bicentennial, UVA has covered the Rotunda in scaffolding and begun the latest round of improvements to the once-crumbling structure. The first phase of the $51.6 million restoration project got underway last year and involves replacing a rusting iron roof installed in the 1970s, repairing crumbling marble capitals, and installing a more historically-accurate oculus atop the structure's iconic dome, according to the Charlottesville Daily Progress. Crews are in the process of replacing the existing steel roof with a new copper one that will eventually be painted white as Jefferson intended. Corroding tension rings supporting the dome will also be refurbished to ensure the building's long-term structural viability. Work is expected to be complete by September. Later, 16 marble column capitals installed as raw blocks in the 1890s and later carved in the early 20th century and now shrouded in black netting will be replaced. Future phases also call for interior restorations and adding an elevator to the structure.
Not since Thomas Jefferson have AN readers had such an advocate in the Oval Office! In a piece timed with Barack and Michelle Obama's historic White House visit today, the UK's Telegraph has a list of 50 things you might not know about our President-Elect. And this little nugget caught our Eavesdrop eye:
He would have liked to have been an architect if he were not a politician.Now we know the Obamas would definitely be interested in some redecorating ideas from the AN-sponsored White House Redux competition. Perhaps Jorge Rocha Antunes' proposal (above) where the White House is encased in an artificially-produced living organism?