2017 Alice Washburn Award Winner | Connecticut Chapter of The American Institute of Architects | Accessory Building
Reminiscent of a vernacular barn structure in an abandoned state, this new "reclaimed" structure houses a state of the art theater, sculpture gallery and observatory. Perched austerely on a hillside with sweeping views into the gardens and meadows, one side opens entirely with an industrial air-craft hangar door allowing further union with the countryside. The exterior is clad in glass and Corten steel in a natural rusted state. Atop sits a rotating aperture-slit dome of galvanized metal used for observing terrestrial or celestial events. Visitors are greeted by a monumental oak door that floats within its glass façade. Continuing the mystery and creating a little bit of tension, a mottled black folded plate steel stair, resembling the bellows of an accordion, cantilevers off the wall. Once ascended, visitors encounter a catwalk crafted in steel and resin panels set within a circular spoked frame evocative of a reel of film which hovers above the gallery below. Combining the romance of the abandoned farm structure with a sense of folly from an earlier century, the building creates drama within its shell and frames the natural drama without.
As an additional bonus, (not included within the award) this project is connected to the wine cellar in the main house by an 800 sf, 140 foot long concrete tunnel, inspired by a wormhole. The wormhole is home to an iridescent slug that radiates light in a broad spectrum of wavelengths from her glowing translucent skin.