How do you design a state-of-the-art student apartment building located just a few hundred yards from the Rotunda of the University of Virginia, which was executed by none other than Thomas Jefferson? Very carefully.

What was once an unsightly, L-shaped parking lot sandwiched between elegant, 19th-century homes is now a new off-campus residence for 150 students. Two five-level buildings are done up in deep red brick with crisp white accents, echoing the materials used in Jefferson's famous Rotunda.

Architect John Matthews returned trees, shade, and pedestrians to the site via a garden promenade that connects the two buildings and leads residents to a central common space. The space is defined by circular pergolas that contain bike racks and a communal mailbox center to encourage mingling. The design of the buildings is simple but elegant, consistent with the neighborhood's architectural legacy and the university its residents attend. Mr. Jefferson would no doubt approve.

See all 2007 Builder's Choice Award Winners

Category: Apartments, rental;

Architect: Mitchell/Matthews Architects & Urban Planners, Charlottesville, Va.;

Builder: Martin Horn, Charlottesville;

Developer: Wade Apartments, Charlottesville

Learn more about markets featured in this article: Charlottesville, VA.