Inside the Rotunda: Taking Cues from Mr. Jefferson

Inside the Rotunda: Taking Cues from Mr. Jefferson

Grace Shu
Nov 8, 2007

Go Wahoos. We spent this past weekend going back to our alma mater, the University of Virginia; and during one of our many pitstops, we popped into UVA's famed Rotunda building for a bit of collegiate nostalgia. Only this time, instead of gazing thoughtfully at the fire-resistant dome (the original building burnt to the ground a bit more than a century ago), we were oohing over the furniture and spatial arrangements in the curved-shaped rooms.

While we've all seen this layout of couch-to-couch combat in front of a fireplace, we're already ransacking the internet for a fainting couch version with similar lines. And using convex mirrors in oval rooms seems like a precursor to our modern day "eye in the sky" cameras--except we'd prefer a gilt-edged frame of course. But what tickles us the most about these rooms is the pairing of progressive architecture with traditional decor--we're not sure how or why it works, but it does. And really, should we expect anything less from Thomas Jefferson, the inventor of the dumbwaiter and the swivel chair?

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