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Bennington College

Kyu Sung Woo Architect

Bennington College
By Redazione The Plan -

Bennington College is sited in the pastoral landscape of rural Vermont. With increases in student enrolment projected for the next years three additional student houses were built. The houses are located at the uppermost portion of a rolling meadow along the western edge of campus. The site was chosen because of its unique character and proximity to Commons. The new houses function as an interdependent place for student life that is separate yet connected to the surrounding campus. They are oriented in a radial configuration to filter views to the landscape and create a foreground for the new house scheme, creating also an edge to the campus that was previously undeveloped. Low, field stone retaining walls mediate space between the houses and provide visual continuity between the front and back areas.  Straight gravel paths connect individual houses. A limited access gravel road culminates in a defined open area for student recreational activities.
To facilitate the development of a programmatic identity for new housing, the college participated in a series of program workshops focusing on the aspirations of students and providing a forum for ideas exchange. Students expressed that they enjoyed the living environment of the existing houses. What developed from this process was a transformation of the positive attributes of the existing 1930’s era houses into a contemporary dormitory solution. The new house reduces the size of the large, existing house living room and redistributes the area in highly desirable living rooms and a quiet study space on the third floor. The new design eliminates the double-loaded corridor scheme in favour of a single-loaded organization, with services and living areas on the north side and rooms towards the southern exposure. This arrangement permits natural light into the corridor and views from the corridor to the surrounding landscape. The connection of the corridor to the exterior is further aided by the use of magnetic...

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