University of Virginia

Rotunda Restoration


In collaboration with John G. Waite Associates, Kohler Ronan provided the MEP/FP portions of the historic structure report for the iconic Jefferson Rotunda. The in-depth conditions analysis and investigation led to the preparation of detailed construction documents for the $50 million project. Exterior restoration began in 2012 and was followed by significant interior renovations.

The first two of four phases of renovation consisted primarily of roof and façade restoration. Kohler Ronan then engaged in the design of the remaining phases III and IV interior renovation, improvements, and landscape. The MEP systems investigations revealed the equipment and systems of the 1974 renovation were beyond their expected service life, lacked adequate space for maintenance, and needed to be replaced; it was now necessary to improve system efficiencies, serviceability, and integration into the building’s historic fabric.

In an attempt to create much needed program space within the Rotunda, and reclaim usable space previously taken for mechanical systems during the 1974 renovation, the design team contemplated a below-grade space for engineering systems. Specifically, a vault, below the west courtyard and fountain, and a distribution room, below the West Oval room, were designed. Along with the two existing mechanical rooms, these new spaces allowed air handling equipment, duct distribution, and piping to be located outside the desired program space. The result was the return of the Rotunda to an interactive part of campus life. The project is pursuing LEED Silver Certification, and is both SHPO & 36 CFR 67 compliant.


LOCATIONCharlottesville, VA
ARCHITECTJohn G. Waite Associates
SIZE35,000 square feet
COST$50 million
COMPLETION2015 (design)
LEEDLEED Silver Certified
AWARDS2017 AIANY Architecture Merit Award
 2018 AIANY Design Awards, Adaptive
 Reuse/Historic Preservation Merit Award

Photo credit: ©Anna Wesolowska/ www.photographerhedman.com