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Specifications for the Annex

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Specifications for the Annex

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Of the manner of executing a certain Building proposed
to be added to the Rotunda on the north side of the Uni-
versity buildings; reference being had to the Drawings
hereunto annexed:


Main Building 105 feet long, 55 feet wide

Colonnade between 55 feet do., 25 feet do.

Portico--North End 55 feet do., 25 feet do.

Sub-Basement Story 14 feet high in the clear

Basement Story 14 feet do. do,

Principal Story 21 feet do. do.

Upper Story to eaves and cove of roof, 18 to 20 feet high.

Dig out the whole area, designated on the drawing to the
depth, level with the surface of the ground at the north end
of the building, or beginning at 150 north of the present
Rotunda building, and of a width between the terraces, equal
to 185 feet, using the earth so excavated in raising and forming
the terraces designated on the drawing.

After levelling off this area so excavated, dig out for the
footings of the walls two feet deep, and of width correspond-
ing to the thickness of the walls laid down on the Plans.--
Should the earth thus taken out of this area not suffice to
make up these terraces, other earth in the neighborhood to
be used to complete the same. Should a wall front this terrace
the earth will be only sloped outwardly. After the footings
of the walls are dug our the beds of the trenches are to be
beaten down to a solid consistence to receive the foundation
walls, and after they are laid and sett [sic], to fill in and ram down
the ground with wooden rammers. Should any springs of wa-
ter be met with, proper drains are to be formed to lead off these
and other waters. Level off and grade the sectional ground
lines designated on the drawings. In the sub-basement, no
earth is to be left nearer than 9 inches to any floor or other
timbers,--such cavities to be filled with dry materials--bro-
ken stone, &c. No useless or other materials to be left on the


ground, and should any water from rains, &c., settle in the
foundations the same to be baled out or led off by under-drains,
cess-pools, &c. The excavation will not commence nearer to
the foundations of the present building than 20 feet.


Dimensions of Walls

Footings of foundations outside, 4 Bricks

Sub-basement Walls do. 3 1-2 do.

Basement do. 2 1-2 do.

Superstructure do. to eaves, 2 do.

Partition Walls footing, 2 1-2 do.

Do. do. 1 1-2 do.
All the bricks used in the building to be of the best hard
burnt brick, and laid in the best and most workmanlike man-
ner, in good mortar made with stone lime and sharp sand, in
the proportion of not less than 4 to 5 of sand to one of un-
slacked lime--the lime to be first slacked in a box, and when
thoroughly dissolved to be thrown into the bed of sand and
well mixed and worked together. The facing the outside
walls to be with pressed brick, laid in Flemish bond, flat joints
well settled down and bound with the interior part of the wall
and prepared for painting. The other parts of the walls to be
laid in American bond (3 stretchers to one header)

When the foundations are laid, care must be taken that the
ground has been well rammed and settled down previously to
laying the brick.

The foundation walls will be so laid that the axis of both
walls, upper and lower, shall be in the same plane or be per-
pendicular with each other, so that the bearing shall be equal
on each side; every course of brick laid throughout the build-
ing to be well bedded and joints flushed up with mortar; no
bats to be allowed except for closures, or where weight only is
required, as in the spandrils of the arches forming the terraces
of porticos. Provision is to be made in constructing the
walls for all the furnaces, &c., the smoke and air-flues required
in the building, whatever chimnies are carried out the shafts to
be raised to the height designated at least equal to those in the
present building; all flues to be 1 1-2 bricks square,
well pargetted, and cleaned out after the chimnies are topped
out; dead arches to be thrown as the openings in the present build-
ing. The bricks capping the chimnies must be laid with hy-


draulic mortar well pargetted, and where other walls are exposed
to the weather, the same precaution is to be used.

To form the terraces or floors of the portico and colonnade,
groin arches are to be turned, laid in hydraulic mortar, spandrils
filled up with brick, flush and level, ready for paving with tile
or brick.

Where fire places are introduced 4 inch Trimmer arches are
to be turned for the hearths; care must be taken that no timbers
be allowed to touch the smoke flues or fire places.

Bed, in mortar, all bond timber, wall, or other plates, lintels,
wooden bricks, tamplates, stone or other work connected with
the brick work; all the door and window frames to be bedded
in and pointed round with lime and hair mortar. Back up
whatever of cut stone is laid in the walls.

Portico and Colonnade.--Provide and execute walls for
piers and arches for carrying the columns, as shown on the
drawing. Carry up the columns of the same dimensions of
those of the present Portico, the bricks solidly laid in hydrau-
lic mortar, the facing prepared for stucco work, the bases and
caps of these column (to be formed of cast iron) to be built
in with the brick work. Dead arches to be thrown above the
architrave level of Portico to sustain the wall of the tympanum
of pediment, which is to be faced in the same manner with the
external walls described.

Form arch-way and terrace of entrance to the north, through
and under terrace on this side, with wing walls outside to
sustain the sloping bank; grade and pave the court all round
the building, forming the necessary gutters and drains; the
bricks to be laid in clean sand, not less than 6 inches thick.

Lay whatever hearths are required in the building. Do what-
ever other brick work is required about the building, whether
of walls or paving. All the above work to be done in the most
substantial and workmanlike manner, with the best material,
the contractor to secure the stability of his work from all set-
tlement or other damage during the time of building, and to
make good the same as the architect shall direct.

Provide good and sufficient scaffolding, which is to
remain for the use of the other mechanics or artificers that may
have occasion for the use of the same.


All the floors throughout the building to be constructed of
the best quality heart stuff, the joists to be all framed into gir-
ders supported by cast iron pillars or columns--the floors to be


counter-ceiled, filled in with lime or refuse plaster, brick chips
or such like material, and plastered over, leaving about 1-2 inch
space below the top of the joists, the joists to have the usual
camber (say 1-2 inch,) and to be not more than 12 inches
apart from each other; the floors to be laid with 1 1-4 inch
narrow heart boards, secret nailed, cross-jointed, the ends
tongued into each other, and the whole dressed off in the best

The girders to be bridged and well dress, the ends secured
firmly in the walls. For the ground floor, dwarf walls will be
built to receive the ends of the joists, which will be well bridg-
ed and counter-ceiled before the floor is laid.

The roof to be framed with principal rafters, with Queen
posts, to admit of a cove ceiling to be executed; as the cast
iron columns will extend up to the eaves of roof, these princi-
pals with their strut beam will rest or be supported 10 feet
from each wall by these columns. (For the plan of this roof
see drawing.)

The rafter stuff of this roof to be laid as purlieus on the
rafters, so as to allow the boarding for the covering of the roof
to range up and down, instead of cross-wise. Form the neces-
sary gutter-ways on the roof.

Rib the cove ceiling, formed of inch boards, doubled and
cross-jointed, throughout the whole length of the building, in-
cluding the Portico and Colonnade, the distance of the ribs not
to exceed 16 inches from centre to centre and properly braced
or bridged. Frame the ceiling of portico and Colonnade in a
substantial manner to form a floor for that part of the upper
story extending under the roof here, and lay a floor over the
same equal to those before described.

Frame and set the galleries on the principal floor agreeably
to drawing, all round the room, supported by the cast iron
columns before described--floor the same, and enclose it with
a light cast iron balustrade. For particulars refer to plans to be
furnished by the Architect. Provide suitable benches to all the
Lecture rooms, exhibition rooms and galleries, according to
Plans. Provide rostrums to each of these rooms agreeably to
drawings to be furnished; wide moulded skirtings to be carried
round all the rooms. The finish of the windows and doors to
correspond with those in the present building.

The dimensions of the basement windows to be increased in
height as per drawing, more than those in this story of the
present building. In the upper or museum story, alcoves are
to be formed and shelved for mineral subjects, &c.; the divis-
ions to be made according to plan, with a window in each.


Should additional space be required, the upper story or roof
floor is to be fitted up by galleries, and alcoves or recesses
extending over the ceilings of portico and colonnade, communi-
cating with by the stair cases in the angles, and from the galle-
ries of the Rotunda, lighted from above. Reference to the
drawings will explain the whole arrangement. Form a trap
door over one of the stair-ways with steps of communication
with roof. Construct an open newel winding stair-way, trian-
gular well-hole, mitred nosings and risers, plain brackets, con-
tinued cylinder hand-rails of mahogany, square balusters,
dovetailed into steps with occasional iron balusters, double
turned newels of large diameter, with a turned cap to suit the
hand-rail, to mitre to; a little dress or declination to be given
to each step, the rise not to exceed 7 1-2 inches. The stairs
are to start from the sub-basement floor, and to continue to the upper
or eave floor or roof; the height of the hand-rail to be not less
than three feet to 39 inches above the steps.

Provide, set, and remove all the centres of the arches under
the porticos and terraces--lintels to all the windows and doors
--wood-bricks, &c., for the bricklayer to wall in for securing
the wood work inside.

Provide and set the entablature, soffets, and architrave inside
of the columns of the portico--all round the building, with the raking
cornice of the portico, pediment corresponding with that in the
present building, except it should be deemed best to substitute
stucco or mastic work in place of wood work in parts of the
same, of which due notice will be given by the architect.

All of the above work to be done in the best and most work-
manlike manner, with the best quality heart or white pine.

The ironmongery, used to be of the best finish and quality.


Prepare and assist the bricklayer to set all the window and
door sills of cut stone, required about the building; the stone
to be laid in the direction of its natural bed in the quarry.--
Run a stone belting course, with a proper wash around the
building of the height of the portico floor, 7 inches high, and
in length not less than 4 feet, the vertical joints to be cramped
with iron not less than 12 inches long. The curb-stone round
the portico and colonnade to be brought to a width not less than
12 inches bed.

Provide and set in their places No. 14 stone plinths for col-
umns and 6 for pilastres, of the dimensions of those in the
Rotunda building, Portico, &c.


Prepare and set all such other cut stone work as may be
ordered by the architect for other parts of the building.


Plaster all the interior walls and ceilings throughout the
building, with three-coat-work floated to a straight and smooth
surface, with the best quality lime, sand, and hair. Run a
stucco moulded cornice around the ceiling of the exhibition
room, and in such other rooms as may be directed by the
architect. Form in stucco three centre pieces in the
ceiling of the exhibition room, according to drawing to be
furnished by the architect. Run projecting beads on all
the outer angles. Run such mouldings as may be required
round the openings of the sky-light. Do whatever other plas-
tering in stucco work that may be required in and about the
building, and clear off all plaster rubbish and scaffolding in
and about the building.


Glaze all sashes about the building, after priming and
sizing, with the best quality Redford crown glass--clear and
free from spots or winds--bedded in putty, and back puttied
and fastened. The sizes of the glass will be the same as in
the adjoining building (Rotunda) according to their ranges,
those of the basement and sub-basement excepted, which will
be about as large as those above. All the sashes to be painted
once in size and three coats in oil on the outside with the best
quality of white lead. All the dressed wood work inside once
in size and twice in the most approved manner, with or with-
out oil, as may be directed by the architect; and all the outside
wood and iron work three times in oil---using the best quality
lead and oil.

If required, paint the whole of the exterior walls of the
building with four-coat-work. 1st coat, saturating the brick
face with oil; 2d coat, coating the whole with yellow ochre paint;
3d and 4th, coats of pure white lead and oil, with a tint of
yellow ochre, forming a light stone color. Clean all the win-
dows, at the finishing of the building, and if required, finish
the principal story doors in oak or wood colors, as may be



Prepare and fix a metal roof of tin or galvanized iron, as
may be hereafter directed, of the best quality, over the whole
of this building; the carpenter to prepare the ground work for
the same. Form the requisite gutters and down pipe, as may
be directed by the architect. Finish round the sky-lights party
walls and chimney stacks, and do whatever other work that is
necessary to complete and secure the roof from leakage. Pro-
vide and fix to the walls, &c., the requisite pipes for the pas-
sage of the bell wires or speaking tubes while the brick work is
in progress--all to be done in the most workmanlike manner,
and with the best quality material of the kind.


Provide and assist to fix in their places all the wrought iron
work required by the carpenter or bricklayer during the pro-
gress of the building, such as clamps, bolts, hold-fasts, window
and chimney bars, and such like other work.


Provide and fix in their places the requisite cast iron round
columns of a neat pattern for the different stories of the build-
ing, the lengths corresponding with those named under the
head of "Carpenter"--the diameters to be proportional to the
weight to be sustained beyond the common proportion, which
information will be hereafter furnished.


The best quality ironmongery to be provided of such
descriptions as may be required by the carpenter, who is to
judge of the suitableness of the same.

Washington City, Jan. 3, 1851




“Specifications for the Annex,” University of Virginia Library Online Exhibits, accessed June 18, 2024,