I was lucky enough this semester to be offered a graduate research position by Professor Michael Henry, who teaches the building pathology and diagnostics courses in the historic preservation program.
It is a great honor and I’m incredibly excited to be engaging in research on Thomas Jefferson’s design of Monticello and the features and details that make it one of the earliest milestones in passive architectural design–still studied as an example of how to incorporate passive natural ventilation and daylighting into buildings today.
Specifically, I’ll be pouring over original documents, drawings, and correspondence to establish a state of the art at the time Jefferson made his preliminary designs and compare Monticello to other notable projects in the area at this time, such as James Madison’s Montpelier.
Only a few weeks into it, but I am already deep into the research and making some extraordinary finds and connections. I’m looking forward to what a semester’s worth of research will produce. If time permits, the research may culminate into a CFD analysis model to investigate the findings further and to see perhaps how some of Jefferson’s earlier designs might have fared compared to the final.