- All Exhibits
- Exhibit Home
- The Academical Village
- The Romantic Picturesque
- Re-imagining Jefferson: McKim, Mead & White at the University
- The University Beautiful
- Modern Suburban University
- University Recentered
- Appendix I: The Design Process
- Appendix II: Architectural Artifacts
- Appendix III: Buildings and Architects
- Use and Copyright Information
However iconic it may be, the University is not a museum. The dynamism of a 21st-century institution requires renovations, additions, and a number of preservation approaches. One tactic to keep historic buildings viable is to physically move a structure from its original site. Varsity Hall was recently moved east 185 feet to accommodate the expansion of Rouss Hall.
Another possibility is to return structures to their original appearance based on historic evidence. Jefferson’s design for Pavilion X, inspired by the Theater of Marcellus and the Temple of Nerva Trajan in Rome, featured a parapet crowning the roofline of the building. The feature was removed in the mid-19th century, but current preservation work is restoring the original Jeffersonian form.
A primary challenge of preservation is deciding which version is the “original.” In the 1970s, Frederick Nichols and other University architects demolished Stanford White’s Rotunda reading room in favor of an interpretation of the original Jefferson interior. Today, the Rotunda needs a new roof—should it be returned to White’s copper dome or to an approximation of what was built under Jefferson’s supervision in 1825? The Lawn’s colonnades have also sparked debate. The sand-washed columns have been painted white for over a century. Should they be returned to their original appearance or should we preserve the later, now iconic, manifestation? The tension between living memory, historical precedent, and current use will continue to define Jefferson’s University.