Flansburgh Architects Design Barn-Like Performance Venue for Jacob’s Pillow Dance

PROJECT NAME Perles Family Studio
SQ. FT. 7,400 SQF

Founded in 1932, in Becket, Massachusetts, is the oldest summer festival of its kind in the U.S. The 220-acre compound of 38 barnlike structures has furthermore been named a National Historic Landmark. What the site did not have, on the other hand, was a heated studio, suitable for year-round use, and an official home for the . Solving those problems and then some, designed the primarily for rehearsals and workshops, but it can double as a performance venue, seating 200.

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Operable clerestories ring the studio. Photography by Robert Benson.

While adhering to the prevailing vernacular, the studio is “very much of our time,” Flansburgh president says. What traditional barn is designed with a crystalline cupola, wraparound clerestories, and two window walls? All that glass makes it possible for dancers to take in views of the Berkshire Hills and, equally important, for visitors to peer inside to see dancers practicing. Other than glass, the 7,400-square-foot structure is a wood construction: Western red cedar for the exterior, Douglas fir and pine for the interior walls and ceiling, and stained maple for the sprung floor. Beams and trusses support the lighting as well as the speaker system, which is all but invisible to attendees when seated. The seating solution, by the way, is clever yet low-tech. To supplement a balcony along one side, platforms that slide out of the balcony’s base can accommodate extra folding chairs, stowed in a closet when not needed.

The studio also houses , a 12-month residency for choreographers. “It will extend year-round opportunities,” Croteau notes. Speaking of opportunities, the project was one for him personally: To draw on memories of his young daughters studying dance.

Platforms for additional seating can slide out from the base of the balcony for spectators. Photography by Robert Benson.

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> See more from the February 2018 issue of Wifijerez