Bensonwood To Restore Parapet on Thomas Jefferson's Pavilion X NH Firm Using Founding Father's Designs & Modern Techniques to Recreate Missing Piece

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Bensonwood, the design/build company credited with reviving timber frame construction in America in the early 1970s, has won a contract to restore a parapet on the Thomas Jefferson-designed Pavilion X at the University of Virginia, today a world heritage site. The parapet will be prefabricated in NH and shipped and assembled on-site in Viriginia in the Fall.

This rendering shows the building once the parapet has been replaced. The entire section will be prefabricated using Jefferson's designs and a mix of traditional and modern techniques.

With Bensonwood's participation in reconstructing Jefferson's original parapet design for Pavilion X, our company looks to spotlight a time when quality building was a matter of social importance and national prestige.

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Bensonwood, the design/build company credited with reviving timber frame construction in America in the early 1970s, has won a contract to restore a parapet on the Thomas Jefferson-designed Pavilion X at the University of Virginia, today a world heritage site.

Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, founder of the University of Virginia and third president of the United States, was also an accomplished architect. He designed his mountaintop home, Monticello, as well as the University, both of which are in Charlottesville. Jefferson designed the pavilions to embody different styles of architecture.

For the uninitiated, parapets--walls or railings along the front of a roof or platform--were design elements on the facades of period "Lawn" buildings, or pavilions. Though part of the original design, the Pavilion X parapet was removed in the 1890s and not replaced.

As part of the world heritage site, Pavilion X is a national treasure of inestimable importance. Its Georgian style and classical lines represented a refined durability to the fledgling and precarious republic--a symbol that would literally stand the test of time.

"We're thrilled to be working alongside the likes of Thomas Jefferson and honored to be chosen to restore one of his great works," said Tedd Benson, author and founder of Bensonwood Homes in Walpole, New Hampshire. "Over the past 35 years, we've strived to make better quality homes and commercial structures, and we've always believed Americans have the right to quality construction. Sadly, they've been underserved by the industry for much of the last century. The Jeffersonian design and construction standard is a better representation of American abilities."

The parapet for Pavilion X will be prefabricated in Bensonwood's shop in New Hampshire, blending state-of-the-art techniques with old-world craftsmanship reminiscent of Jefferson's era. The parapet elements will then be shipped to the University and assembled in a few days this fall.

"The parapet is a significant original feature that Thomas Jefferson intended as an integral part of the design," said Brian Hogg, senior historic preservation planner at the University. "Restoring it will help recapture the appearance Jefferson intended for the building."

Jefferson built the University using the craftsmen of his time, and in recreating Jefferson's parapet design, Benson hopes to focus attention on a period when craftsmanship was the norm. "With Bensonwood's participation in reconstructing Jefferson's original parapet design for Pavilion X, our company looks to spotlight a time when quality building was a matter of social importance and national prestige."

For more information on this and other projects, call Greg Boiles at 603-756-3600. For more information on the company, visit http://www.bensonwood.com.

About Bensonwood: For more than 30 years, Bensonwood has delivered uncompromising quality and innovation in timber frame, hybrid and high-performance building. Through its unique Open-Built® system, Bensonwood incorporates advanced technologies and environmentally responsible practices in all its buildings including a line of customizable, net-zero capable homes the company has developed (http://www.bensonwood.com/unity). Bensonwood was also featured in all 16 episodes of this past season of PBS's "This Old House," designing and building a high performance, eco-friendly home. Winner of PATH's 2006 Innovative Small Builder of the Year award, and Residential Contractor magazine's "2008 Builder of the Year," Bensonwood is a nationally recognized designer/builder of residential and commercial structures.

About the University of Virginia: The University is a premier academic institution, founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, who believed an educated populace was essential to the success of the young nation. Today -- with a student body of 21,000, and 11 schools encompassing engineering, business, law, education, medicine, nursing, architecture, leadership and liberal arts -- U.Va. is tied for second among all public universities and is tied for 24th among all universities, both public and private, in the most recent U.S. News & World Report ranking.

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Greg Boiles

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