Sunday, September 5, 2010


Latitude: 38° 0'36.00"N
Longitude: 78°27'9.00"W

Today I went to see Monticello and the Highlands. I think that I experienced these places on an unusually deep level. As I walked through Jefferson's home and gardens, I could feel the man's passion for his life and work. The history came alive. To me, the rational and the emotional became united in an organic wholeness that was quite powerful. I looked at his books, and his study, and it occurred to me how important the continuing pursuit of knowledge is. Jefferson was an self-taught architect, and I found the results of his 40+ years of building, to be a fascinating example of the pastoral ideal. The foundations of this country were built on ideals, like justice, honor, and virtue, but they were and continue to be universally unattainable. Jefferson himself recognized the paradox between slavery and justice. It did not, however, deter him from the pursuit of the idyllic. What you can achieve in architecture is a certain kind of perfection that just does not exist in society. That is why I love it.

I could only take pictures of the outside, but the weather was fantastic.  I took this view from the garden.
The fenestration in the house is quite elaborate.  There are dual acting doors, double pocket doors, skylights, and even a triple sash egress window.  Jefferson obviously liked to look outside and enjoy the view.  Communion with nature is what glazing actually offers.  The house was completely unlit, but light wafted through it magically.  Opulent for its time, I am sure.  Very inspirational building and one of my favorites so far.

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