Jefferson designed the serpentine walls circumscribing the Pavilion gardens to be one brick in thickness; but one must not, despite Jefferson’s own comments, understand the construction to be out of economic salubrity. The form of the wall expresses not only a structural principle of lateral stability but also a metaphorical one. Is not the brickwork of the Academical Village – exposed, rather than stuccoed over, as in the case of Palladio – a demonstration of the “chaste” architecture that Jefferson expounded? Then how much more striking the sensuousness of the Garden walls, “astonishing for its formal liberty.” The undulations render vividly visible the triumph of form over mass, the stability of the wall deriving from the “bonding” of the individual units according to an abstract principle rather than sheer “dumb” accumulation. Yet its abstraction is not manifested only at the level of physics: the organic and topological curves invoke “nature,” but arrested at the level of generic image – sign as cliché. It is significant, then, that the serpentine walls invert the conception of nature found on the “other side” of the Pavilions. The colonnade and its arboreal “double” bespeak of the nature/artifice dialectic as an iterative and self-reflexive affirmation, cascading down in accompaniment with the Lawn’s terraces to meet their “manifest destiny” below and beyond. In the Gardens, nature is the possessed rather than the possessor, completely encapsulated by the walls and made subordinate to the container – not only in the “cookie-cutter” plan but in the experienced elevation. The walls’ height, carefully modulating visibility, renders its contents known while maddeningly withholding specificity – nature partitioned and reified into abstracted object, rather than the Lawn’s materialized abstraction. That is to say, the syntax of the Pavilions and colonnade are symptoms of a logic asking to be diagnosed, while the logic of the Garden walls preemptively annul whatever syntax its contents choose to take. That is why Jefferson – whose mania for control asserted itself in every other aspect – could confidently relinquish jurisdiction over design of the Gardens. In a manner uncannily similar to the Manhattan grid, the serpentine walls – formally independent, contrasting both the geometrical and picturesque Gardens – thematizes only itself.