Capital Idea: Project Restores a Piece of Jefferson’s Rotunda Design (Video)

Crane lifting a heavy piece of the top of a pavilion column in the air

Thomas Jefferson’s original architectural design for the University of Virginia was beautiful, yes, but it was also meant to be functional. The various architectural details in his “Academical Village” were intended as a sort of an object study in students’ aesthetic training.

So when the capitals at the top of the Rotunda’s columns began to crumble, it was clear that special measures were required.

U.Va. videographer Mitchell Powers details the painstaking process of removing the damaged capitals, and then crafting and placing the replacements.

Learn more about the ongoing Rotunda renovation at

"Special thanks to William Canup and Professor William Wylie for the use of their video footage of Pedrini Studios in Carrara, Italy."

Media Contact

Matt Kelly

Office of University Communications