Like the two previous studies, this report strongly recommends the adoption of a curatorial approach to the maintenance, renewal, and restoration of a significant historic building. Just as an art conservator would not intervene in the life of an artistic artifact before obtaining a thorough knowledge of its history, composition, and significance, so those engaged in the preservation of buildings and landscapes should proceed only from a basis of knowledge. Far too often in the past, the cultural integrity of buildings and their settings has been compromised by approaches to restoration that have been grounded in personal whim, willful romanticism, and expedient notions of repair and renewal.
Although Pavilion II is fundamentally similar to Pavilion I and VI, there are also some substantial differences. Pavilions I and VI have survived largely intact, particularly the original blocks, and the historic structure reports were prepared as part of comprehensive and extensive restoration programs for the buildings. Pavilion II, on the other hand, underwent a major restoration in 1953, which included the reconfiguration of the first floor. Since much of the existing building fabric of the main floor is less than forty years old, Pavilion II is considerably different from Pavilions I and VI, which retain most of their original Jefferson interiors.
Another significant difference is that Pavilion II is scheduled for only minor maintenance work at this time, not for extensive restoration. The roof will be replaced, and the building will be completely repainted. However, the renewal of the heating, ventilating, air conditioning, electrical, and plumbing systems will be carried out at some time in the future, when these systems have completely outlived their usefulness.
The preparation of a historic structure report is the first step in developing a disciplined approach to the care of a historic building. Over the past year and a half, a team of architects, architectural historians, and building conservators has carried out the surveying and recording of the building. There has been a review of archival information regarding Pavilion II and a thorough examination of its building fabric. All components of the fabric have been examined and for each element, its date of origin, existing condition, and scope of needed repairs have been ascertained. A permanent graphic and written record of these findings has been prepared. Assembling the minutiae of the building's history and current conditions creates a benchmark that not only will provide a guide for immediate work but also will furnish future generations with a clear picture of what was found in our time.
With gleanings from Jefferson's papers, the university's archives, and other written accounts and graphic materials about the university, it has been possible to assemble a history of the building's design, construction, subsequent alteration, and use. Careful measurement of all exterior and interior features of the building have made possible the preparation for the first time of a comprehensive set of architectural drawings, which illustrate in plans, sections, elevations, and details, the existing configuration, as well as the evidence of original construction. The measured drawings were prepared by D. Jeffrey Kidder of the University of Virginia and Charles E. Barthe of Mesick Cohen Waite Architects.
Along with the reports for Pavilions I and VI, this study is part of the ongoing program to prepare historic structure reports on all the physical aspects of the Jeffersonian period and intervening years. This program will provide for a framework of knowledge and collective consensus in dealing with these important cultural resources.