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2001, Kyu Sung Woo

The newest dormitories at Bennington College repeat and break patterns. Originally programmed as a single large dormitory east of the residential south lawn (balancing three dormitories of 1968 by Edward Larrabee Barnes on the west), they evolved through campus discussion into three more intimate units. The buildings recall the scale of the earliest Bennington housing and are clustered as a new residential-life node on the campus's western edge. The architect's original choice of corrugated siding was adjusted for contextual reasons to red cedar—horizontal shiplap toward campus, vertical tongue and groove on outward faces, and horizontal louvers (recalling the library) that screen the staircases. Kyu Sung Woo of Cambridge, Massachusetts, set the irregular elongated trapezoidal blocks in a fan pattern. Their narrowed ends with angular shed profiles aim toward the Commons and establish on their campus side the sense of a slightly splayed cluster with glimpses to the landscape beyond. Here the walls are stained red, blue, and green, and cascading exterior stairs give access to single-loaded corridors. Much like Alvar Aalto's Baker Dorm at MIT, the rooms all look outward with large windows to a view, here southward to meadows and woods. Semidetached faculty apartment blocks between the dorm masses, slight breaks in the long campus faces, and standing-seam roofs that change from shed to double-pitched at the breaks give the buildings an edge of deconstructivist angularity in plan and elevation. Yet the wood siding and vernacular pitches (shared with the shed-roofed Barnes buildings) maintain a connection with the essentially rural character of the place.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


What's Nearby


Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Dormitories", [Bennington, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 46-46.

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