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University of Virginia

Colonnades & Roof Restoration

MCWB was commissioned by the University to restore the Chinese railings over the colonnades that connect all of the pavilions and student quarters. Before undertaking the design work, MCWB Architects performed a comprehensive investigation of the existing fabric to identify traces of the Jefferson period Chinese railings. This work included looking at the physical evidence in addition to searching through the University’s archival collections as a means of gathering information on the evolution of this feature. These findings were documented and presented to the University of Virginia in the Chinese Rail Investigation report. The University established that any restoration work on the Chinese railing must conform to these new findings, thus prompting the production of construction documents for the railing and roof restoration at Pavilion IX’s Colonnade as a study for how to treat the rest of the Academical Village.

The Chinese Rail investigations also included a thorough analysis of the original roof configuration which revealed the nature of one of Jefferson’s “serrated roofs” encapsulated beneath later construction. As part of the investigation the slate roofs were opened and the serrated roofs were photographed, measured and drawn. Schematic drawings were produced to show the original roof configuration during the Jefferson period. It was discovered that the serrated roof had originally been higher than the existing flat seam roof and that the wood deck over the serrated roof was flush with the wood deck of each Pavilion balcony.

During the study it was found that the original serrated roofs remained partially intact below the later period gabled roofs and portions of the Chinese rail along the portico were found to be original. The Exterior Restoration Plan concluded that several original features should be restored, including the attic parapet, the student room serrated roofs and Chinese rails, the front columns and the pavilion and student room doors. The report included a scope of work for restoration as well as a preliminary cost estimate for budgeting purposes.

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