Winter at the University features the rotunda at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville.
The Rotunda is a building located on The Lawn in the original grounds of the University of Virginia. It was designed by Thomas Jefferson to represent the “authority of nature and power of reason” and was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, Italy. Construction began in 1822 and was completed shortly after Jefferson’s death in 1826. The grounds of the new university were unique in that they surrounded a library housed in the Rotunda rather than a church, as was common at other universities in the English-speaking world. The Rotunda is seen as a lasting symbol of Jefferson’s belief in the separation of church and education, as well as his lifelong dedication to both education and architecture. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966, and is part of the landmark University of Virginia Historic District, designated in 1971.
The collegiate structure, the immediate area around it, and Jefferson’s nearby home at Monticello combine to form one of only three modern man-made sites in the United States to be internationally protected and preserved as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO (the other two are the Statue of Liberty and Independence Hall.
The original construction cost of the Rotunda was $57,773 ($992,792 in 2006 dollars). The building stands 77 feet in both height and diameter.