Join the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Monticello for a virtual Fellow's Forum with Linda Binsted, Architect and Architectural Historian.
Thomas Jefferson’s international travels took him to the cities and countryside of England and France but not to Italy, the birthplace of Palladian design. However, his travels never took him to Rome and its classical buildings, nor did he see any works by Palladio firsthand. Yet, through architectural treatises, the prevalent pattern books of the 18th century, visits to architecturally significant structures in America, England and France, and the intellectual thoughts of the day, he came to produce some of the most influential Palladian designs in the still young United States.
Palladio’s villas are visions of smooth planar beauty, crisp whiteness in the Italian piedmont sun. Jefferson’s Palladian work in the Virginia piedmont – Monticello, Poplar Forest and the University of Virginia – are clothed in molded red brick and striped with sand mortar. Other builders and architects of the era studied the same sources as Jefferson and used the same materials to produce worthy Palladian-inspired plans and volumes; however, their detailing of the façade merely replicated the prevalent Georgian and Federalist manner. This presentation examines the pathway Jefferson travelled and the methods he employed to purify the brick edifice to better attain the planar volumes depicted in Palladio’s folios.
About the Speaker
Linda Binsted is a practicing architect working in Washington, DC. Her architectural designs have garnered design awards and appeared in local and national publications. She has conducted seminars focused on the intersection of the design, technology and history of building materials including brick and concrete as well as mid-century urban renewal at American Institute of Architects (AIA) conferences including AIA Washington Chapter’s Design DC and Virginia AIA ArchEx. She is also a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Master’s program in architectural history. As an architectural historian, she has presented her preliminary findings on Jefferson’s brickwork design at the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (SESAH) regional conference in 2017 and the New Discoveries of Thomas Jefferson’s Architecture and Design symposium sponsored by the University of Virginia in 2018.