Architects Joan M. Soranno and John Cook forge five guest cabins that embrace the landscape and celebrate the spirit of a classical music festival that takes place on the pastoral Marlboro College campus.
Every year Marlboro College, which is located in rural Vermont, hosts the Marlboro Music Festival in which 80 of the most prominent classical musicians join together and work to hone their craft. For seven weeks, they work, live, and rehearse together and also host select public performances. Since its inception in 1951, the program has steadily welcomed more people to participate, outgrowing its accommodations. Enter architects Joan Soranno and John Cook of HGA who developed five site-specific cabins that tread lightly on the land and respect the festival's roots. Soranno and Cook created deceptively simple-looking structures that update the regional vernacular.
"In Marlboro, you get a different way of not only looking at the world, but also looking at life," stated Mitsuko Uchida, the festival's current artistic director, in a release. "If you spend weeks together, day in and day out, eating meals together, chatting and sitting around, you begin to get the basic outline of what it means to be a musician. Ultimately Marlboro is about the concept of time. We have time to rehearse and time simply to think."
The new cabins reduce the key form of the Cape Cod–style structures found on the campus. They sport the telltale pitched roof, wood exterior, and central chimney, but feature a more contemporary feeling. The interiors are restrained, yet comfortable and warm thanks to white pine walls and a slate tile floor.
Soranno and Cook used energy-efficient construction and modern mechanical systems in the designs and furnished the interior with pieces from Blu Dot and Knoll.
While the windows are larger than what one would find in a traditional Cape Cod structure, they were essential in establishing a connection with the forest.
"We felt it was important to create continuity with nature, rather than compete with it," Soranno stated. "The connection with nature is what makes this place special."