The University of Virginia, established 200 years ago in Charlottesville, Virginia, is taking major physical strides to elevate public awareness of its historic, and also troubled past. One of its most-anticipated architectural projects is Höweler+Yoon’s upcoming memorial dedicated to the slaves who helped build the campus. The circular design references Thomas Jefferson’s nearby Rotunda, a national historic landmark and arguably the most important building on site. Constructed in 1825, the Rotunda has always served as the centerpiece of the university’s Academical Village, a UNESCO World Heritage site where Jefferson’s original structures stand. It recently underwent a multi-year, $51.6 million restoration project by New York firm John G. Waite Associates (JGWA) and is now considered a model of 21st-century preservation. The American Institute of Architects just named the building among the top projects in the country, alongside the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Smart Factory by Barkow Leibinger in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. For the university, the monumental restoration of Jefferson’s Rotunda was long overdue. Most of the buildings within the prominent Academical Village were constructed well over a century ago and designed to mimic Greco-Roman architecture, hence the Rotunda’s resemblance to Andrea Palladio’s drawings of the Pantheon. The building has had a tumultuous existence since opening in the early 19th century. In 1895, it was nearly destroyed in a catastrophic fire, leading McKim, Mead and White to complete a full-scale replica of the structure for the school. According to JGWA, the interior spaces were significantly altered during this construction. Another early-1970s renovation, completed ahead of America’s bicentennial, also compromised the architect’s original intent. JGWA addressed these issues, as well as other long-standing structural problems, throughout the four-year restoration project. The firm fixed the leaking roof, repointed the building’s brick walls, restored the facade’s metal moldings, and replaced the portico’s deteriorating column capitols with Carrara marble ones. They also meticulously restored finishes and details found on all three interior floors according to Jefferson’s initial designs. The architects removed the acoustic plaster ceiling that made up the interior dome and replaced it with perforated aluminum. Additionally, a new mechanical and storage space was built out within an excavated space in an adjacent courtyard. The building reopened in September of 2016 as part of a larger, campus-wide effort to restore the Jefferson-designed grounds, including the university’s historic Lawn.
Posts tagged with "University of Virginia":
The University of Virginia School of Architecture has appointed Felipe Correa as the Vincent and Eleanor Shea Professor and new chair of architecture. Correa is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Master of Architecture in Urban Design program at the Graduate School of Design of Harvard University. He will start the new position on July 25. Felipe Correa is a renowned architect, urbanist, author and professor. He founded and manages Somatic Collaborative, a research-based architecture, landscape and urbanism studio based in New York and Quito, Ecuador. Correa has been teaching at Harvard since 2008. Since 2009, he has served as director of the MAUD program of the GSD. His research, design and writing have been distributed widely. At Harvard, Correa was the co-founder and Principal Investigator of the South America Project, a trans-disciplinary platform that studies design issues of the South American continent. Correa is also releasing a new book in October titled the São Paulo: A Graphic Biography, which interrogates the Brazilian city’s fast-paced growth and socio-economic divide between the city’s financial center and its periphery in the post-industrial context. “As one of the leading scholars on architecture and urban design in Latin America, Felipe brings a wealth of knowledge, creativity and experience to UVA,” said Ila Berman, Dean of the School of Architecture, in a press release. “He will be a tremendous addition to the leadership team of the Architecture School and we’re extremely excited to welcome him to the community.” Correa succeeds Bill Sherman, Lawrence Lewis, Jr. Eminent Scholar Professor and current chair of architecture.
Boston-based architects Höweler+Yoon, along with Mabel O. Wilson, Gregg Bleam Landscape Architect, and Dr. Frank Dukes, are designing a circular memorial to honor the slaves who helped build The University of Virginia (UVA). The memorial was approved by the UVA's Board of Visitors Buildings and Grounds Committee this past Friday. It is estimated that some 5,000 enslaved people contributed to the erection of the University, which was planned by President Thomas Jefferson two centuries ago. Only a fifth of those who worked on the University's construction have recorded names, almost all of which are singular first names. These will be inscribed on the circular memorial—formally titled the "Memorial to Enslaved Laborers"—and space will be left for further names, should research uncover more. The design features a locally sourced granite circle, with a diameter of roughly 80 feet and rising gradually to a peak of eight feet, that references The Rotunda at the University of Virginia. The architects consulted residents of Charlottesville and worked with the University when drafting their proposal; their efforts included community meetings and a social media campaign. "It was critical that we engage the school and local community to ensure that we heard as many voices as possible, and that we understood what individuals felt the memorial needed to achieve,” said Dr. Frank Dukes, in a press release. The memorial comprises two rings. The larger ring will display the names of enslaved people on the inside as it encases a smaller ring, which will serve as a bench for contemplation and hold a water table. A history of slavery at UVA will also be etched into this inner ring. Marcus Martin, a co-chair of the President’s Commission on Slavery and Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity at UVA, told the Washington Post that the water "will symbolize libation and the transatlantic voyage of the enslaved people." Martin added that he envisions programs and classes being held at the memorial. "I can see gospel choirs singing there. I can see people giving speeches there," he also said. "Students, staff, and faculty will pass by it every day.... They will probably sit there and reflect upon the memorial." UVA, from an architectural perspective, is laced in history. Monticello and UVA are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for example, but Kirt von Daacke, a professor and assistant dean at UVA, said the university aims to address the fact that "Jefferson is both the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence, the man who founded a radical experiment in higher education in the United States, and a lifelong slaveholder with rather unpleasant views." "I don’t think the university, until the last decade, had really begun to grapple with that reality," he continued, in conversation with the Washington Post. "I’m really excited that we are adding to that landscape." In a separate press release, Meejin Yoon of Höweler + Yoon also stated, “the Memorial is a facet of the University’s commemorative project that involves many people and initiatives, we envision this memorial to embody the ideals of the University which, as Jefferson defined to be, 'to follow truth wherever it may lead.'"
The University of Virginia has announced the appointment of Bradley Cantrell as the new Chair of Landscape Architecture at the School of Architecture. Cantrell is currently an associate professor of Landscape Architectural Technology at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD) and director of their Master in Landscape Architecture Program. The Architect’s Newspaper met with Cantrell in April of last year to discuss his groundbreaking work in the fields of landscape architecture, ecological analysis, technology, and artificial intelligence. In that interview, Cantrell describes his work as "cyborg ecologies" that focus on blurring the lines between natural and man-made systems. “I think a lot of people have issues with the idea that we’re actually extending even more control over the landscape,” said Cantrell. “I think there is a fear of that we’re constantly in discussion about how we relinquish control. I think it’s an open question.” He believes that the integration of technology and nature should be seen as a powerful and positive synthesis and something to be celebrated, as opposed to an “us versus them” duality between man and nature. Cantrell discusses the power of technology that is not only designed to serve mankind, but can also be used to serve the natural environment. In our interview, he explained: “I think this idea that there are competing goals and that humanity might not always be at the center of all of those goals—that takes somewhat of an enlightened viewpoint, but it also is one that is necessary for us to have.” Cantrell will step into his new role at the University of Virginia on June 25, 2017.
Elizabeth K. Meyer has been appointed as the dean for the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture. Her two-year term starts July 15th. Meyer received both her bachelor’s and master’s degree in landscape architecture from UVA before going on to teach at Harvard for four years. In 2012, President Obama selected her to serve on the U.S. Commission of Fine Arts. Meyers was the only landscape architect on the panel of seven. Of her new position, Meyers said in a statement that she is “optimistic that the next two years will be a period of tremendous innovation as we form new creative habits and collaborative relationships amongst ourselves, and with colleagues across the University and beyond.”
Award-winning architect Toyo Ito can add another accolade to his collection as he’s been awarded the University of Virginia’s 2014 Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture. He will be officially honored on April 11th when the school hosts a talk with the celebrated Japanese architect. “Toyo Ito’s work has this quality—both ethereal and utterly grounded, fantastical and practical—his architecture helps us to imagine new forms of human experience. His meaningful use of emerging digital tools, combined with his sophisticated deployment of non-Cartesian rationality, will inspire architects for generations to come,” said Kim Tanzer, dean of the University of Virginia School of Architecture, in a statement. Last year's prize was awarded to landscape architect Laurie Olin.
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.