University of Virginia

City: Charlottesville
State: VA
Zip: 22903
Phone: 434-924-6015

After two terms as president, Thomas Jefferson came home to campaign for a new institution of higher learning in Virginia. In 1817, he chose a site near Charlottesville, within easy riding distance of Monticello, and set to work building his “academical village”. He developed plans for ten pavilions, five on the east side of a lawn facing five on the west. Each pavilion has two stories with living quarters for teachers upstairs and classrooms down. These he connected with single story student rooms. At the high north end of this shared lawn is the Rotunda, inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. During Jefferson’s lifetime, it was the library. Behind the pavilions are garden spaces defined by serpentine walls. They separate the buildings on the lawn from the West and East Ranges, additional rows of student rooms facing outwards, interspersed with a set of “hotels” where private families originally provided food for the students. The serpentine garden walls were completed by 1824, but Jefferson left no specific plans for the gardens. Pavilion residents were to design, plant and maintain them. The Garden Club of Virginia, in a departure from its usual precedent, recognized a need and offered to restore the gardens in the early 1950s. In the Pavilion Gardens are many of the flowers and shrubs that Jefferson grew in his gardens at Monticello, as well as those familiar to eighteenth-century gardeners and writers. Their design reflects garden styles popular during his lifetime. The five West gardens were restored by 1952 and dedicated that year. The East gardens were dedicated in 1965. Though different because of the topography– the West gardens are relatively flat and the East gardens are on a steep slope–the end result is equally impressive.

University of Virginia

Year: 1953
Landscape Architect: Alden S. Hopkins

West Lawn, five Pavilion gardens

Year: 1965
Landscape Architect: Alden S. Hopkins and Donald Parker

East Lawn, five Pavilion gardens


Consulting Landscape Architect Ralph E. Griswold

Year: 1977
Landscape Architect: J. Patrick Graham IV, Nancy Tagahashi and University Planning Office

East Lawn, North Forecourt of the Rotunda. Planting enhancement of the Rotunda Forecourt, with brick walks.

Year: 2002
Landscape Architect: William D. Rieley

Pavilion III, refurbishment of garden

Year: 2007
Landscape Architect: William D. Rieley

Pavilion VI, refurbishment of garden

Year: 2008
Landscape Architect: William D. Rieley

Pavilion X, refurbishment of garden