The second of the ten first buildings at U.Va, Pavilion III was built between 1818 and 1821 based on Jefferson's plans. His design was inspired by the Temple of Antoninus and Faustina in Rome, as illustrated in Palladio's Book Four. Pavilion III is unique in that it remains largely unchanged from its original appearance, at least at first glance. It was constructed with two front entrances. The central entrance led to a classroom, the second to a faculty residence. This plan reflects Jefferson's intent to create a living/learning space at the university. Originally, it also featured a parapet atop the roof.
Pavillion III's construction effort was supervised by Irish carpenter and builder, James Dinsmore. The masons John Perry and Matthew Brown were responsible for laying the brick for the structure, although Brown's involvement may have been limited. The tinsmith Asa H. Brooks applied the roofing and gutters on the pavilion. His initials are still visible on a stud in the gable. The decision to use tin instead of wood shingles for the pavilion roofs was an expensive one, with Pavilion III's tin expense being the largest ($304) of any other single pavilion, hotel, or range of dormitories.
The interior ornamentation in Pavilion III is the work of sculptor William Coffee. The exterior features columnns of the Corinthian order carved from Italian Carrara marble, which was imported into the United States as educational materials to save on the customs duty. Jefferson was highly experienced in building columnns, which he also used extensively at Monticello. Sculptors Michele and Giacomo Raggi were hired to carve the capitals, which arrived in Richmond on board the Draco in 1823. The installation of the capitals marked the completion of the University pavilions.
The residents of Pavilion III have included numerous professors and institutional occupants. From 1924-1953, the building housed the Graduate Department, sharing space with The Virginia Quarterly Review from 1925-1929. In 1953, it was home to the Institute of Public Affairs, though it departed shortly thereafter as President Colgate Darden sought to reestablish Jefferson's original idea of using the structures on the Lawn as student and faculty housing.