Thomas Jefferson


Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–1809), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and an accomplished architect.

As an architect, Jefferson was extremely influential in bringing the Neo-Palladian style-popular among the Whig aristocracy of Britain-to the United States. The style was associated with Enlightenment ideas of republican civic virtue and political liberty. Jefferson designed his home Monticello near Charlottesville, Virginia. Nearby is the University of Virginia, the only university ever to have been founded by a U.S. president. Jefferson designed the architecture of the first buildings as well as the original curriculum and residential style. Monticello and the University of Virginia are together one of only four man-made World Heritage Sites in the United States of America.

Jefferson also designed Poplar Forest, near Lynchburg, in Bedford County, Virginia, as a private retreat from his very public life. Jefferson contributed to the design of the Virginia State Capitol building, which was modeled after the Maison Carrée, an ancient Roman temple at Nîmes in southern France. Jefferson's buildings helped initiate the ensuing American fashion for Federal architecture.


Jefferson urban thinker?

Yes, his contributions to ARCHITECTURE are unquestionable, urban thinker? Wasn't the Jeffersonian ideal one of an agrarian [not urban] society? If Le Corbusier is seen as the devil of 20th century urbanism, might not Jefferson lean that way in the early 19th century? OK, he did come up with the nifty idea for organizing all those "unpopulated" territories in the old Northwest, why with the Roman-type grid 6x6 miles and subdivided into sections...but it is an anti-urban ideal!