The ten pavilions are numbered I to X. Odd-numbered pavilions are on the west, and even numbered pavilions are on the east. The lower the number of the pavilion, the closer it is to the Rotunda. Each of the pavilions originally housed one of the university's ten original, separate schools. Each contained classrooms and the professor's living quarters. The professors lived on the upper floors and taught their classes on the lower floors.
The pavilions are connected by a continuous colonnade, which offers shelter from the weather and partially screens the utilitarian dormitories from public view. The walkway on the roofs of the colonnade that connects the second-floor levels of the pavilions is reserved for the private use of the faculty and their families.
Each of the pavilions was designed by Thomas Jefferson with elements drawn from classical models as published by Palladio, Fréart de Chambray, and Charles Errard. Each is different, thereby offering a separate lesson in classical orders and architecture.
The Lawn itself measures 740 feet in length and 192 feet in width. Lined with rows of trees, the Lawn is terraced in gradual steps from north to south. The Jeffersonian Precinct is separated from the newer sections of the university by roads on the west, north, and east sides and by a wide walkway on the south.