Sept. 7-13, 2001
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Honoring the code: How faculty and TAs can promote academic honesty
Pavilion VII: building restoration now complete
Colonnade Club returns to newly restored pavilion
Pavilion VII
Photo by Rebecca Arrington
Faculty attended a reception last Friday to celebrate the completion of the Pavilion VII restoration, a feature of which includes a 12-by-16 skylight previously incorporated in the building’s 1912 addition.

Pavilion VII: building restoration now complete

By Jane Ford

Following a $3.7 million architectural restoration project, Pavilion VII, the oldest building on the Lawn, has re-opened its door — or doors, to be
more accurate.

One of the surprises found during the restoration process involved a set of double doors in the 1817 Jeffersonian part of the structure. The doors, covered with plaster on the inside, still had several early painted mahogany wood-grain finishes, one after another, but the early metal door hardware was missing. As restored, the wood doors still show some of the earliest finishes in the uppermost panels, inside and out.

“Pavilion VII has been the largest and most complex restoration undertaken during my two decades here,” said James Murray Howard, curator and architect for the Academical Village. “Research and construction required more than five years, three of that in field work alone.”

More than 150 Facilities Management craftsmen worked on the project, in addition to outside contractors, engineering consultants and several volunteer specialists for decorative matters.

Meticulous attention to detail has been a key part of the process, providing invaluable data to the on-going restoration of other structures in the historic Grounds, Howard added.

During construction, finding details concerning a stairway in the entry hall provided insight into how two rooms on the second floor were used during the early days of the University. Analysis revealed that walls were whitewashed, woodwork painted and floors bare.

In addition to the 1817 structure, Pavilion VII has two additions, one in 1860, another in 1912. “Because of the three eras of construction — spanning a century — interior spaces are distinctly different in character,” he said. “In the current work, we have endeavored to make the three eras compatible with one another, while respecting the wonderful idiosyncrasies of each.”

Part of the restoration included the reinstallation of a 12-by-16 foot skylight in the 1912 addition. The original had to be removed decades ago due to leakage. The light-filled room, painted its original yellow color, overlooks the garden.

The restoration blends historical accuracy with modern technology. New building systems have been added, including electrical, fire detection and suppression, heating, air conditioning and plumbing. An elevator connecting the ground and first floors, and data ports and phones in each guest room and in various locations throughout the building were installed.

Furnishing the Pavilion is an on-going effort. Period furnishings selected to reflect the history of the times are being restored, commissioned and purchased. A featured piece in the front room is a restored glass-fronted bookcase dating from the 1820s. Six duplicates of a chair Thomas Jefferson ordered from a French cabinetmaker in the 1780s were commissioned. In addition, 31 copies of an armless, tablet-back chair designed by Jefferson are in use throughout the pavilion. Specially made carpet reproductions from England were installed in many of the rooms.

According to Howard, the furnishings will be teaching tools to introduce students, faculty and visitors to the decorative arts of Jeffersonian America. To this end, plans include displaying 18th-century engravings depicting historical events, celestial and geographic globes of the period, and portraits and busts of famous persons.

Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe laid the cornerstone for Pavilion VII, which is the second most public building on the Lawn after the Rotunda.


© Copyright 2001 by the Rector and Visitors
of the University of Virginia

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