UVA Rotunda Restoration Selected for 2019 AIA Honor Award in Architecture

We are pleased to share the news that the restoration of the Rotunda at the University of Virginia has been selected as one of nine projects for the  2019 American Institute of Architects Honor Awards for Architecture. This prestigious award celebrates the best contemporary architecture and highlights the many ways buildings and spaces can improve lives. AIA’s nine-member jury selected submissions that demonstrate design achievement, including a sense of place and purpose, ecology, environmental sustainability and history.

John G. Waite Associates served as the Architect for this comprehensive interior and exterior renovation and restoration; and David J. Neuman, FAIA, Founding Principal of Neu Campus Planning, served as the Architect for the University of Virginia from 2003 to 2014 and oversaw the original planning, design and initial construction for this project.

The Rotunda is widely considered Thomas Jefferson’s single most important architectural achievement as the library, the academic center of the University of Virginia, which he founded in 1819; therefore, it was his vision that building would serve as a “temple of learning”. Over the years it became relegated to administrative and ceremonial use, but through this comprehensive restoration the Rotunda is once again a focus of university life with classrooms, study spaces and activity areas, as well as remaining the home of the University’s Board of Visitors.

The new programming expanded open study hours and offers many academic classes in the Rotunda for the first time since the late 1930s. The renovation restored important elements of the original Rotunda design,  as well as made major improvements to the building’s infrastructure.

Specific aspects of the renovation include new Corinthian column capitals supplied by the original source in Carrara, Italy;  an updated landscape plan for the courtyards and front entry plaza by OLIN;  a new interpretive center, featuring the unexpected discovery of a Jeffersonian-era chemical hearth that was once used in science classes; and a revitalized Dome Room used for many ceremonial events.