University of Virginia Academical Village

Historic Towns & Villages, Historical Sites, Presidential Homes & Sites, Historic Towns & Villages, Historical Sites, Presidential Homes & SitesCharlottesville, VA

Thomas Jefferson believed the college experience should take place within an "academical village," a place where interaction between scholars and students enlivened the pursuit of knowledge.

Jefferson's brilliant arrangement of the University buildings (constructed 1817-1827) produced a collegiate complex that is among the most beautiful in the world. Two rows of five Pavilions, with connecting dormitory rooms joined by a covered walkway, open out to a grassy yard called the Lawn.

The ten Pavilions are stately faculty homes with living quarters upstairs and classrooms downstairs. Jefferson designed each one in a different style, thereby offering separate lessons in classical architecture.

At the head of the Lawn stands the focal point of Jefferson's design -- the Rotunda -- which served as the library. It was unique in that universities at the time all centered on a church or chapel.

The 78' wide dome-shaped Rotunda was inspired by Rome's Pantheon and is symbolic of the enlightened human mind. The Rotunda suffered a great fire in 1895; people ran into the burning building and rescued books, papers, and even the large statue of Jefferson (if you look carefully, the statue's cape has a chip in it that happened during the rescue).

University of Virginia Academical Village

2304 Ivy Road
Charlottesville, VA 22902

Albemarle County, VA


Charlottesville, VA — Charlottesville is located in the center of the Commonwealth of Virginia along the Rivanna River, a tributary of the James River. It was formed by charter in 1762 along a trade route called Three…


Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau Visitors Center
610 E. Main St. Charlottesville, VA 22902
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