The Winter Visual Arts Center at Franklin & Marshall College, located in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, was a commission that Steven Holl found to be a very good fit for his aesthetics and the values of his architecture practice. Holl is a strong believer in the relationship between the built environment and nature. “The large diameter trees, the oldest elements of Franklin & Marshall’s 52-acre arboretum campus, were the conceptual generator of the building’s geometry. As a lightweight building, its man 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.” (Steven Holl Architecture webpage)
Oftentimes, Holl starts visualizing a project through the ecological lens of his eyes! In the finished working drawings for the Winter Visual Arts Center, Holl and his team called for the following: operable windows and skylights at every studio, natural light to all studios, radiant floor with heating and cooling, reflecting pool doubles as a stormwater overflow, and, most importantly, all existing trees preserved on site.
What are your thoughts on using ecological innovation design elements to connect the Winter Visual Arts Center’s physical plant to its site in such a way as to enhance the “Universal Language of Art” for aspiring students operating within the creative arena?
Franklin & Marshall Entrance Gate (Lux et Lex is a Latin term for Light and Law)