Thomas Jefferson and early American Architecture.

I visited Virginia over Memorial Weekend in search of Thomas Jefferson and his philosophy about architecture as symbolic of a democratic society.

The Virginia State Capitol, designed by Thomas Jefferson after the Maison Carree, an ancient Roman Temple in Nimes, France. Jefferson saw in the architecture of the ancient Roman republic the connection between a rational, educated citizenry and the new democracy he sought to create.



Jefferson founded the University of Virginia believing that an educated society could be trusted to make informed decisions when choosing their elected officials.  He designed the library and lecture hall after the Roman Pantheon, which held statues of the Roman gods.  For Jefferson, knowledge was the new god, thus the design of the library which held books of knowledge.


Monticello, Jefferson’s “essay on architecture.”  He reworked and redesigned this home through-out his entire life.   The gardens were just splendid, even in the cloudy weather. I loved being here.  The perfect retreat for a Memorial Day weekend.