Composer’s Colony
Brandon, Vermont

Main House + Hermitage 1

The Client, a composer with whom I had collaborated on a project in 98, approached us to design a house / rehearsal + recording studio, and eventually an artists’ colony on property in Vermont. A perfect program and a client with whom I had a great working relationship already. However the project has a bare bones budget and a fluctuating schedule. The design process for this project would be an extremely collaborative one, as that was to be the essence and purpose of the artists colony itself.
Our design goals have been to interrogate the nature of the monastery as a model for the artists colony and to build in as harmonious a way as we can with the landscape, and therefore create “a building which is not there”. In our initial studies we sought to unfold the cloister model in a multi-armed, open structure, explicitly breaking the insular quality of the monastery and creating a social space as well as set of solitary places for the visiting artists.
This has taken form as a main structure for the collaborative work activities, a set of hermitages where artists can be away from the group, and eventually a building to serve as the “dormitory” , “library” and “refectory”.
Phase I:
As an exercise in building (for the client), we are beginning the project with the first “hermitage”. This is a small structure, nestled in the trees, to serve as a transitional environment between camping on the land to a completely “domesticated” living situation. As the client’s sweat equity is vital for the realization of the project, this will also be the training phase of the project.
Phase II:
The second building to be realized will be the recording / rehearsal building.
We have proposed to bury this main structure half way into the sloping terrain, opening up for the view of the mountains and the southern exposure. Sectional shifts are used to create a diversity of spaces which are at once interlocked and also secluded. The main space, to be used for rehearsals, recording and live performances, overlooks the twin mountain peaks to the east.