Flansburgh Architects takes cues from wooden barns for dance studio in the Berkshires

American firm Flansburgh Architects has created a studio building for a performing arts campus in rural Massachusetts that is wrapped in warm-coloured wood and bands of glass.

Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio by Flansburgh Architects

The Perles Family Studio is part of the Jacob’s Pillow dance campus in the small, bucolic town of Becket – situated in the Berkshires region of Massachusetts. Each summer, the performing arts campus hosts an internationally acclaimed dance festival.

Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio by Flansburgh Architects

Encompassing 7,373 square feet (685 square metres), the studio building accommodates instructional sessions, rehearsals and informal performances. The facility has a central hall measuring 50 by 70 feet (15 by 21 metres), which is encircled by a series of more intimate spaces.

Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio by Flansburgh Architects

“As the largest building at Jacob’s Pillow, the studio was thoughtfully arranged like a barn with additions, including smaller spaces such as porches and sheds,” said Boston-based Flansburgh Architects.

Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio by Flansburgh Architects

“The flexibility of the space is supported by carefully chosen building materials that minimise sound overflow between studios.”

Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio by Flansburgh Architects

Exterior facades are clad in board-and-batten wooden siding, creating a “farm-like aesthetic”. Wood was also used for interior surfaces and exposed structural components – in turn strengthening the reference to barns and the countryside.

Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio by Flansburgh Architects

Ample glazing, including clerestories and a glazed cupola, bring in natural light and connect the building to its beautiful setting.

Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio by Flansburgh Architects

“Oversized barn windows and doors create a strong linkage to the Berkshires landscape surrounding the building, and a sense of community for dancers and visitors alike,” the studio said.

Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio by Flansburgh Architects

The building has a number of alcoves and overlooks for spectators, enabling them to view classes and rehearsals without distracting the performers. The facility holds up to 200 seats.

Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio by Flansburgh Architects

The team installed a concealed, underfloor heating and cooling system to help control temperature and humidity levels. On days with pleasant weather, operable windows bring fresh air into the studio.

Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio by Flansburgh Architects

The building is part of a strategic plan that envisions Jacob’s Pillow as a year-round venue for research, performances, educational programs and artist residencies.

Jacob's Pillow Performing Arts Studio by Flansburgh Architects

Situated in the verdant, rolling hills of western Massachusetts, the Berkshires is well known for its cultural offerings. Other arts facilities there include the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, or MASS MoCA, for which architecture firm Bruner/Cott recently designed a sizeable expansion.

Photography is by Robert Benson.

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