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|April 19, 2011
Thank you for the opportunity to attend the UVA Historic Preservation Colloquium. The presentations and discussions were excellent. I had not been back on grounds since I graduated from the A-School with my MLA in 2000.
The historic periods that Richard Guy Wilson presented:
1. 1814-1828 Jefferson/Creation/Neoclassical
2. 1830s-1890 Reorientation/Romantic/Picturesque
3. 1890s-1950s Rediscover/University Beautiful
4. 1950s-Present Reimagination/Jefferson Revival
If these are considered Periods of Significance, the first or Jefferson Period is the primary period of significance. All remaining resources from this period are always preserved as the University has been doing (e.g. encapsulating the remaining serrated roofs for their protection).
From all the discussions and my observations, it appears that the University has been applying management or treatment zones to the Academical Village. I have attached a graphic to illustrate this. In essence these zones or districts all defer to the primary (Jefferson) period of significance where possible, while ultimately reflecting another historic period(s) for which they have more integrity.
*Treatment of the Colonnade/Pavilions adheres to the primary (Jefferson) period of significance (1814-1828). It seems with all the great research that has been done recently, that this zone will be restored even further to reflect this era.
*Treatment of the Pavilion Gardens and Lawn itself seems to reflect periods 3 (1890s-1950s) and 4 (1950s to present) with the colonial revival gardens from the 50s and 60s and the trees on the Lawn.
*Treatment of the Arcade/Range/Hotels reflects periods 1 (1814-1828) and 2 (1830s-1890). There is much integrity to the primary (Jefferson) period, but there were some hotel additions/changes that are being preserved.
*Treatment of the Rotunda and south buildings, Cocke, Cabell, and Rouss Halls reflect period 3 (1890s-1950s) for the most part at least on the exteriors. The interior of the Rotunda, though reflects the 1970s changes, so it reflects period 4 (1950s-present). This last period is the least important period, and it seems that the interior is open to reimagination or reinterpretation. The interior and exterior are so altered from the Jefferson Period, that there is no credible way that they could be brought back (e.g. There is an extra course of bricks now lining the interior to support the replacement dome and stabilize the structure, so the internal dimensions of the building will always be smaller than in Jefferson's day.)
This application of separate treatment zones seems like a reasonable way to reconcile the layers of history, design, and tradition that have accumulated here and to guide their management.
The paint analysis results may be a key to unifying the Jefferson and Standford White buildings on the Lawn. It appears that ALL the buildings had more of a beige or cream or stone colored trim well into the 20th-century even the Stanford White additions. Yes there will be shock at first from many alumni with replacing the "classic" white with the historically appropriate color, but with a proper educational campaign and the passage of time, this will change. Discussing why modern elastic "refrigerator" white came to be on the lawn and the damage that ensues to the masonry columns that can not breathe beneath all those modern layers is one place to start. In addition, the current students and future alumni are witnessing the restoration process at Pavilion X and they will have a very different take on tradition than their predecessors. Until everyone is ready to embrace the historic treatment, perhaps the University could gradually darken the tint of the white paint each time it has to be reapplied.
Whatever is decided, the World Heritage Site status of the Academical Village should remain and ICOMOS rules must be followed.
(See attached file: UVA Acad. Village Treatment Zones)
Christopher M. Stevens
Historic American Landscapes Survey (HALS) National Park Service
1201 Eye Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005