“The Rotunda Renovation” replaced the 16 marble capitals of the University of Virginia’s Academic Village Rotunda, a UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Thomas Jefferson, the Third President of the United States. An 1895 fire destroyed the original capitals carved by the Ricci family of Carrara, which were then replaced with columns from an alternate source.
In 2013, with the replacement columns crumbling, the University contracted Our Company to restore the capitals. Lacking a complete capital, detailed photographs, or original drawings, our team used 3-D scanning technique to recreate the original capital design. Having only the remaining fragments of single lower capital base, a full ¼ section capital model was created. First starting with a scan, then drawings. Based on the drawings a clay model of upper part of the capital was created and placed on top of the reconstructed in marble lower part. The model was then scanned again, a digital design of the whole capital was created and passed to fabrication. Within 10 months, 6-axis robotic machines shaped 80% of each capital, which then were completed by skilled carvers.
To preserve the Rotunda’s integrity and proximal historical structures, our team designed an innovative lateral conveyance system that allowed for lifting and lowering those heavy and fragile capitals onto a 30’- 45’ high scaffolding and further moving and installing through system of rails feeding each column. Whole procedure was completed with 4-5 men, over the course of a few weeks, and without any incident. The project has eceived a great numver of awards inclding the 2016 MIA Pinnacle Award of Excellence for Renovation / Restoration. The project also won the 2016 Carrara Trade Fair, Best Use of Carrara Marble.