Oak Hill School Art Center

My idea was heard out to add onto this old barn and make it into the school art studio--that is after developing a relationship with the school as a board member, and with the angel donor for these buildings through previous projects.

Back side's outdoor classroom near the orchard

Front as it looks toward the main entry

There was a tiny conference-room size studio the art teacher (Diane Hill) operated the entire school art program out of since the school's beginning in 1994, and we dreamt of giving her a light-filled space that could be appropriately inspiring and functional.

Student cubbies under Europly tops and windows with Europly trim that also caps the Homasote edges. The natural light resonates with the europly and Homasote.

The north clerestory floods the room with even light, where the Homasote lower on the walls provides pin-up space and acoustical control.

I wouldn't have been inspired to invoke such a rural aesthetic, except the board retreat of 2013 decided the school should maintain the rural campus aesthetic. Since I was proposing to save the existing barn, I decided to try a hay hood pointing toward the main school entry on the west side of the building--it does provide some cover, but its most dramatic effect is in the sundial-esque shadows it casts across the siding through the course of the day. It is a dreamy feature from near and afar, and Diane Hill had a family heirloom hay hook we hung from it to add to the mystique.

some early sketches

a presentation rendering of the final scheme

Original barn

Schematic Design:

Rehabilitating and thus saving the original barn building was a way to increase the mass and spatial dynamic of the Art Center--as well as to gain shop space for art instructors. I built a model to be sure of massing, which served us well in considering revisions later necessary to minimize the footprint for land use concerns.

model of barn + Art Center

The site is integrated with parking and pedestrian ways, and thankfully landscape was able to be included in the scope of the project too--it really helps integrate the facility into the site with its orchard and parking.

5 years after art program occupancy, the building is holding up well. In fact, the patina the program is giving the art spaces endows the building with even more life! Seeing the spaces be loved and wearing well is one of the many joys of visiting projects years later.

This is the north end painting studio (below) with it big 8' doors connecting it to the main space. Sometimes these kinds of doors that are as large as walls don't get used, but they have been well-liked here a as a way to multiple classes and projects going on simultaneously.

And a feature article by students shortly after the building's completion: