Five Cottages-Marlboro Music School
Marlboro Music Cottages, These five cottages serve as residences for senior musicians during Marlboro College’s seven-week summer festival, The small footprints, sloped roofs, compact volumes, and indigenous materials fit snuggly into the lush Vermont landscape of rolling hills and streams and respond in a modern contextual way to the farm buildings on Marlboro College’s campus.
Marlboro Music. Sited on 15 acres in Vermont’s Green Mountains, the design of the cottages was inspired by the Cape Cod cottage, a 400-year-old typology derived from 17th century English settlers’ dwellings in New England. The small footprints, sloped roofs, compact volumes, and indigenous materials fit snuggly into the lush Vermont landscape of rolling hills and streams and respond in a modern contextual way to the farm buildings on Marlboro College’s campus.
With a shortage of residential space for senior musicians, Marlboro Music developed plans for five new Cottages on a 15-acre site adjacent to the College. The design was inspired by a Cape Cod cottage, a 400-year old typology derived from 17th century English settler’s dwellings in New England and the primary inspiration for Marlboro College’s centuries-old farm buildings. Born of necessity with an aesthetic of restraint, this simple gabled form is closely tied to Marlboro’s identity and became the design template for the project. The Cottage’s small footprints, sloped roofs, compact volumes and indigenous materials reinforce Marlboro Music’s place amidst the lush Vermont landscape of rolling hills and streams.
Rather than mimic the Cape’s ubiquitous white clapboard, each Cottage is clad in red cedar siding to blend into the woodland site. On the inside, while traditional Capes were dark, introverted spaces, the new Cottages invert this paradigm with large windows that frame views of the forest and fill each room with abundant daylight. Operable windows combined with overhead ceiling fans eliminate the need for air conditioning, allowing fresh summer breezes inside. Spatially, what would have been traditionally 7 foot-high ceilings opens up to a gabled form, adding volume to the small spaces and providing an acoustically tuned space for playing music. And locally-sourced white pine walls/ceilings and Vermont slate floors with in-floor radiant heat make up a simple and durable palette of natural materials inside.
The new Cottages preserve the bucolic nature of the surrounding area while being responsive to the needs of the musicians and 21st century life. Arranged around meandering 150-year old stone site walls, each cottage is oriented to minimize site disturbance, take advantage of forest and wetland views, and maximize daylight. An old logging road was repurposed to access each cottage, and all storm water is managed on site through swales and a water retention basin. New native plant species require no irrigation and little maintenance; over time, the forest will continue to grow up around the cottages, blending the forms seamlessly into the natural landscape.
Marlboro Music is a place of great humility, generosity and modesty. For each cottage, the root of this modesty comes from its physical and spiritual form: humble dwellings constructed of common materials that are filled with light, the sounds of music and the beauty of their surroundings.
HGA Architects and Engineers:
Since 1951, generations of classical musicians have participated in Marlboro Music, a seven-week summer festival where young musicians collaborate alongside master artists on the tiny Marlboro College campus.
Housing senior musicians on a15-acre site adjacent to campus, these five cottages find inspiration from the campus vernacular, reinterpreting the familiar Cape Cod forms of gabled roofs and unadorned walls into a modern expression that still blends with the setting.
Bypassing traditional white clapboard, the cottages are clad in red cedar planks to blend into the woodlands. Gabled roofs sheathed in Vermont slate soar skyward as indigenous fieldstone bases anchor the cottages to the land. Inside, large operable windows frame views of the forest and fill each room with daylight. Locally sourced white pine walls and ceilings and Vermont slate floors compose a simple yet durable palette of natural materials, reinforcing an interconnection between music and landscape, exterior and interior.
About: Marlboro Music School and Festival
Founded in 1951 by pianist maestro, Rudolf Serkin, and members of the Busch and Moyse families, the Marlboro Music School and Festival has been an annual haven for classical chamber musicians eager to hone their craft. Although called a “school” or a “festival,” it is in reality more of a sabbatical or cloister for musicians, a place where eminent artists and exceptional young professionals from around the world gather to live, play and learn together. During the seven-week season, over 200 pieces are rehearsed and perfected. Yet, since the emphasis is on study and rehearsal, less than a quarter of these works are shared with the public in Marlboro’s five weekends of performances. Over its history, it has helped to establish or cement the careers of touring headliners like Yo Yo Ma, Jonathan Biss, Murray Perahia, Richard Goode, Joshua Bell and Hilary Hahn, and noted ensembles such as the Guarneri, Cleveland, Orion, Brentano and Johannes String Quartets.
Project name: Marlboro Music Cottages
Location: Marlboro Music Festival, 2472 South Road, Brattleboro, Marlboro, Vermont 05301 United States
Coordinates: 42.837226, -72.739728
- Type By Characteristic: Cottage, Green & Sustainable House
- Type By Site: Forest House, Countryside / Suburb House
- Type By Size: Small House – (51 sqm – 200 sqm)
- Type By Materials: Wooden House
Project Area: 1,033 sqm/11,477 gross sq.ft (for all five cottages)
- 2-Bedroom – 130 sqm/1,445 sq.ft – 3 Cottages
- 3-Bedroom – 146 sqm/1,620 sq.ft – 1 Cottage
- 4-Bedroom – 210 sqm/2,335 sq.ft – 1 Cottage
Completion Year: August 2014
Visit Marlboro Music School and Festival’s website: here
Client / Owner / Developer: Marlboro Music School and Festival
Architects: HGA Architects and Engineers – 420 5th Street North, Suite 100, Minneapolis, MN 55401 United States
- Principal: Dan Avchen, FAIA,
- Project Lead Designer: Joan Soranno, FAIA,
- Project Manager/Project Architect: John Cook, FAIA
- Project Designer: Doug Gerlach, AIA, LEED AP BD+C
- Interior Designers: Rich Bonnin, Ariane Laxo
- Mechanical/Electrical/Structural Engineer/Lighting Designer: HGA Architects and Engineers
- Civil Engineer/Landscape Architect: CHA
- General Contractor: Courtlan Construction
- Appliances: Sub-Zero; Kitchen Aid; Miele; Whirlpool
- Bathroom Fixtures: Kohler; Hansgrohe
- Flooring: Vermont Structural Slate Co.
- HVAC: Warmboard Radiant Subfloor
- Kitchen Fixtures: Hansgrohe; Mockett; Blanco
- Lighting: Flos; Winona Lighting; Stonco; Bega; USAI; Haworth; Blu-Dot; Artemide; Tom Rossau
- Metal: Rheinzink
- Windows: Marvin Windows and Doors
Text Description: © Courtesy of HGA Architects and Engineers, Marlboro Music, Architect’s Newspaper Best of the Year Design Awards, architectmagazine
Images: © HGA Architects and Engineers, Paul Crosby