Jefferson's University As American Dream
Thomas Jefferson’s design for the University of Virginia’s “academical village” synthesized politics, pedagogy, classical philosophy, and Enlightenment ideology to create a radically new spatial conception that fused building, landscape, and urban form to embody his vision of America. Beneath the gracefully balanced veneer of his design are numerous qualities that testify not only to Jefferson’s genius but also to the many nuanced contradictions of his complex character that made his mind so extraordinary.
David Bell is a faculty member of the School of Architecture at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He has written essays on a variety of topics in architecture and the arts. In addition to Jefferson’s University as American Dream, he is also the author of the recently published Bernini & Borromini: Theater & Heresy and the forthcoming Adolf Loos: the Irritation of Modernity.