Excerpts from Notes on the State of Virgina (1781-82) by Thomas Jefferson
genius of architecture seems to have shed its maledictions over this
land. Buildings are often erected, by individuals, of considerable expence.
To give these symmetry and taste would not increase their cost. It would
only change the arrangement of the materials, the form and combination
of the members. This would often cost less than the burthen of barbarous
ornaments with which these buildings are sometimes charged. But the
first principles of the art are unknown, and there exists scarcely a
model among us sufficiently chaste to give an idea of them.
section of Notes on the State of Virginia, Jefferson had proposed
the establishment of a college:
being one of the fine arts, and as such within the department of a professor
of the college, according to the new arrangement, perhaps a spark may
fall on some young subjects of natural taste, kindle up their genius,
and produce a reformation in this elegant and useful art.
also advocated the use of native stone and brick:
country whose buildings are of wood, can never increase in its improvements
to any considerable degree. Their duration is highly estimated at 50
years. Every half century then our country becomes a tabula rasa, whereon
we have to set out anew, as in the first moment of seating it. Whereas
when buildings are of durable materials, every new edifice is an actual
and permanent acquisition to the state, adding to its value as well
as to its ornament.