To promote engagement with the building encourage movement through it and ultimately to afford all students visual access to the creative process, the design incorporates pre-existing patterns of pedestrian movement between classroom facilities on the historic campus and dormitories to its west. Moreover, as the building emerges from the ground plane and its stone base, glass is employed as the primary material, affording visual transparency and maximizing daylighting within. Physical permeability is achieved by means of glass garage doors, which open to the landscaped terrace from studios, critique spaces and a café. The conceptual goal of blurring the distinction between the landscape and the building is achieved.
On the interior, teaching and exhibit spaces are integrated into the network of circulation and movement. While the studio spaces for painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, film/new media, visual fundamentals, art history, and visual culture are specific to each discipline, production spaces are accessible to all students, and general critique spaces, seminar rooms and technology clusters are interspersed throughout the building. The integration of advanced technologies serves as an essential link between students, faculty and the arts community at the College and fosters an interdisciplinary process.
From the start, fundamental principles of sustainable design relating to siting, solar orientation, material selection, daylighting and mechanical systems informed the design process and were integrated into the overall conceptual design. Exemplary are a geothermal heat pump system, a recycled glazing system, which defines the painting studios’ northern exposure and a central sky-lit gallery, which forms a two-story lightfilled focal point for the building and unifies activities. Inspiration for the building’s primary materials – fieldstone, cedar, channel glass and zinc – was found in the campus’s rich landscape and its historic architecture. The use of stone from local quarries continues the College’s history of utilizing local fieldstone in the construction of its buildings, and contributed to LEED certification.