Thomas Jefferson Foundation awarded LEED Gold for new building
The Thomas Jefferson Visitor and Smith Education Center at Monticello has been awarded LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council. Designed by Baltimore architects Ayers Saint Gross, the center is a modern reinforcement of the many vernacular aspects of Jefferson’s architecture. Nestled in the forested hillside a quarter mile from the historic house, the visitor center exists as a village of buildings sitting lightly in the landscape, each rising one storey above the previous.
The center's sustainable elements include a geothermal heating and cooling system; two green roofs; the extensive use of locally sourced and sustainably produced building materials; energy-efficient elements such as double-glazed windows and louvered blinds; advanced storm water removal; water and energy conservation measures; enhanced wastewater treatment; and recycling protocols.
The approximately 42,000 sq ft facility includes a ticket pavilion, orientation theater, three education classrooms, a hands-on discovery room for families, exhibition galleries, a museum shop, café and support spaces.
The administrative campus will unite in a single location and remove some of the disparate departments of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation from current spots on the mountaintop. Less than a mile from the house and adjacent to the Foundation’s research Campus, the new structures relate to the traditional buildings of rural Piedmont. The three linked pitch-roof buildings fit into the landscape like other area farmsteads. A new zoning district, entitled 'The Monticello Historic District', was created as part of the development process.
Ayers Saint Gross worked with the Foundation and its consultants to create this district, the first of its kind in the nation. Monticello is also the only house in America listed on the elite World Heritage List of the United Nations, and this latest project has been awarded LEED Gold certified.