WINTER VISUAL ARTS CENTER, FRANKLIN & MARSHALL COLLEGE
Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States of America 2020
PROGRAM: Ground Floor: forum, exhibition galleries, sculpture studios and yard. B-Level: photo, film and video studios. 2nd Floor: studios for drawing, painting, woodworking, design and printmaking, and a cinema organized around student commons. Mezzanine: faculty studios, seminar rooms, and a balcony in the trees.
CLIENT: Franklin & Marshall College
SIZE: 33,000 sf
Drawing on Franklin & Marshall College’s motto Lux et Lex the new Winter Visual Arts Building for the Art, Art History, and Film Department is conceived as ‘light’ in complementary/contrast to the ‘heavy’ exemplary brick architecture of the 1856 ‘Old Main’ original campus building. A gradual exterior ramp connects from Old Main’s axis to a second-floor entrance of our new building, just above a ground floor entrance facing the newly formed ’Arts Quad.’ The building activates the southern end of the campus as a new campus destination as well as reinforcing the college’s historic axis by extending it to the south and reaching out to the town.
The large diameter trees, the oldest elements of the Franklin & Marshall’s 52-acre arboretum campus, were the conceptual generator of the building’s geometry. As a lightweight building, its main floor is lifted into the trees on a porous ground level open to the campus and the adjacent Buchanan Park. The reflections of the hovering building at night glowing in the water of the large reflecting pool add to the special articulation of this place.
The Winter Visual Arts Building is the center of creative life on campus. The universal language of art enabled by the building’s spaces brings together students from diverse cultures to collaborate on arts projects. It offers generous social/circulation space, with two main entries on different levels that enable one-way flow when needed, abundant daylight to all rooms, natural ventilation, and outdoor terraces. The architecture is deeply connected to its verdant, park-like campus setting, a restorative place within nature.
Ecological Innovation +
– double layer U Plank with Wacotech GmbH & Co. KG translucent insulation – operable windows and skylights at every studio – natural light to all studios – radiant floor with heating and cooling – reflecting pool doubles as stormwater overflow – all existing trees preserved on site
Dominik Sigg, Marcus Carter, Elise Riley, Michael Haddy, Hannah LaSota (project team)
- Casali Group, Inc.
Thomas Murray (project manager)
- Franklin & Marshall College
Sheldon Wenger (project manager)
- ICOR Associates
- David Miller Associates
- Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering
- L'Observatoire International
- Hollander Design
- Harvey Marshall Berling Associates
- Aqua Design International
Kostis Korelias, Associate Professor at Franklin & Marshall “... Our new art building is itself a philosophical machine without which, we cannot fully understand the Mystery of force."
Eric Baldwin, The Architect's Newspaper, October 2020 "Rising between canopies of old-growth trees and their driplines in south-central Pennsylvania, the art center seemingly floats above the landscape of the campus and Buchanan Park. The 32,000-square-foot project is wrapped in SHA's signature translucent glass to provide an ethereal illumination for art students. . . Balancing form and enclosure the Winter Visual Arts Building becomes a new campus destination for students with space to gather, learn and grow through the universal language of art."
Alberto Bortolotti, Arbitare, 21 Jan. 2021 "The natural setting has also favoured the application of Holl’s theory of parallax – which holds that vertical or oblique movements through space multiply our experiences – something that is already evident even before you enter the new building, as you walk along the lengthy external ramp that leads to it from the historical centre of the campus."