Pavilion VII is a historic Jeffersonian structure located on the campus of the University of Virginia (UVA) and is part of the Monticello/UVA UNESCO World Heritage Site. It bears the distinction of being the first building constructed on the grounds of the University. The pavilion was constructed in the early 1800s and had two additions in the 1860s and 1910s. In the early 2000s, UVA restored the pavilion and turned it into a hotel, blending various construction types from different eras while maintaining the historic fabric and aesthetics of the structure.
WDP was selected to provide structural evaluation and designs to address structural questions and concerns during the renovation. WDP made numerous field investigations at the pavilion to perform nondestructive testing of the deteriorating concrete terrace, historic load-bearing masonry, and existing timber roof framing. WDP designed a stabilization system to stabilize the deteriorating concrete terrace and verified the viability of constructing a mechanical room in one of three designated crawl spaces. The structural members in the attic were analyzed to determine the impact of hanging an air-handling unit from the rafters, and WDP created construction details for duct penetrations in the existing masonry walls. WDP designed the supporting structure for a new skylight and the shaft for a new elevator.
More recently, the University re-engaged WDP to address severe moisture-related structural problems necessitating the replacement of a 1920s-era concrete slab, formerly the full-width terrace at the back of the building. WDP performed the structural design for a permanent replacement of the deteriorated concrete terrace. Several project conditions brought unique design challenges that had to be overcome on this historic restoration project. The terrace slab supports a colonnade of historic masonry Doric columns that were deemed too fragile to move. Expansive soils and structural distress of the historic masonry walls supporting the terrace slab increased WDP’s complication considerations. In addition, the Owner required that the new terrace be ADA accessible to provide egress from the back of the building.
WDP addressed all of these challenges with an innovative design that used the new terrace slab to relieve the load on the historical masonry walls, which were susceptible to soil movement. WDP designed a new support structure beneath the terrace to relieve loads from the terrace, colonnade, and pergola from off of the masonry walls and transfer them into new helical piers installed beneath the terrace. This design permitted the existing colonnade and columns to remain in place during construction. The replacement terrace slab was sensitively designed to match the aesthetics of the existing terrace while incorporating a new surface profile to provide for accessibility. WDP collaborated extensively with the University’s historic preservation and design teams through both design and construction phases to help facilitate an expedited construction schedule.
ServicesFaçade Investigation & Repair
Patrick B. Dillon, Ph.D., P.E., Senior Engineer
University of Virginia