Charlottesville, Virginia


Completion Date: November 2008

Owner: The Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Program: A 41,930-square-foot green visitor’s center for a World Heritage Site.

Design concept and solution: Ayers Saint Gross Architects + Planners were challenged with the task to comfortably accommodate 450,000 annual visitors on a site that houses the only home in the United States dedicated as a World Heritage Site: Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. To embody Jefferson’s architectural principles without overwhelming his building, the architects worked to create a visitor’s center that rests lightly upon the topography. The addition includes classrooms, a theater, gallery exhibitions, a hands-on discovery room for families, a cafe, museum shop, and ticketing facility. Organized around a green-roof courtyard, the building has been awarded LEED Gold certification.

Gross square footage:
41,930 sq. ft.

Site size:
562,099 sq. ft.

Total construction cost:
$28 Million

Ayers Saint Gross Architects + Planners
1040 Hull Street
Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
T: 410.347.8500
F: 410.347.8519


The Thomas Jefferson Foundation

Ayers Saint Gross Architects + Planners
1040 Hull Street
Suite 100
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
T: 410.347.8500
F: 410.347.8519

Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
Principal-in-Charge: Adam Gross, FAIA

Project Director:  Sandra Parsons Vicchio, AIA LEED AP

Project Manager: Robert S. Claiborne, AIA LEED AP 

Project Designer: Glenn Neighbors, AIA LEED AP

Interior designer:
Metropolitan Studio, Inc., Monkton, MD
With Ayers Saint Gross

Civil: Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP, Baltimore, MD

Structural:  CVM Engineers, Inc., Wayne, PA

Mechanical/Electrical: Mueller Associates, Baltimore, MD

Landscape: Michael Vergason Landscape Architects, Ltd., Alexandria, VA

Retail Design: Eileen Ritter and Associates, Washington, DC

Food Service Design:  Savoy-Brown Foodservice Consultants, LLC, Jessup, MD

Lighting: Hefferan Partnership Lighting Design, Boulder, CO

Acoustical: Stewart Acoustical Consultants, Raleigh, NC

Audiovisual Design: Avitecture, Inc., Sterling, VA

Code Consultants: Rolf Jensen & Associates, Inc., Laurel, MD

Cost Consultant:  DMS International, Inc., Kensington, MD

Exhibit Design: Staples & Charles, LTD, Alexandria, VA

Metcalfe Architecture & Design, Philadelphia, PA (Exhibit Designers, Discovery Room)

General contractor:
W. G. Yates & Sons Construction Company
San Antonio, Texas 78232 

Alan Karchmer Architectural Photographer   (
Daniel Grogan Photography ( 
Philip Beaurline

CAD system, project management, or other software used:Revit




Exterior cladding:
Metal/glass: Copper wall panel cladding

Green Roof System by American Hydrotech

Wood: FSC-certified Spanish Cedar wood windows by Duratherm Window Corporation

Solarban 70XL by PPG Industries

Entrances: Exterior Doors & Windows - Duratherm Window Corporation

Metal doors: Hollow metal service doors

Wood doors: Spanish cedar finished doors by Algoma Hardwoods Inc.

Special doors (sound control, X-ray, etc.): Overhead Door Corporation; Operable Folding Partition - Skyfold Folding Door, Inc.


Interior finishes:
Acoustical ceilings: Armstrong; Ceilings Plus

Suspension grid: Armstrong

Cabinetwork and custom woodwork: Cavanaugh Cabinets, Charlottesville VA

Paints and stains: Sherwin Williams; Cabot (Exterior)

Wallcoverings: Maharam
Paneling: Cavanaugh Cabinets

Plastic laminate: Wilsonart

Special surfacing: Corian Countertops

Floor and wall tile: Daltile

Resilient flooring: Forbo Linoleum

Carpet: Monterey

Polished Concrete: LM Scofield


Office furniture: Herman Miller; Steelcase

Reception furniture: Herman Miller

Chairs: Leland, Davis

Tables: Howe and AK Metals Custom Fabrication

Upholstery: David Edward

Other furniture: The Museum Stool

Interior ambient lighting: Louis Poulsen

Downlights: Edison Price

Exterior: Vision 3 Lighting

Controls: Lutron

Elevators/Escalators:  Thyssen-Krupp

Add any additional building components or special equipment that made a significant contribution to this project:
A geothermal heating and cooling system supported by seventy-two geothermal wells of approximately 500-foot depth, hidden under the parking lots. This system greatly reduces building energy costs by optimizing the energy performance of the project.