Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, is a self-described “liberal arts college grounded in social responsibility, where hard work and community are more than just words.” Beginning in the mid-1990’s, we assisted the college in establishing a Pattern Language for their campus development, and since then, we have been fortunate to work with Warren Wilson on a number of additional projects. A Pattern Language is a language for building and planning as described in Christopher Alexander’s book of the same name. As a design firm, we are students of this pattern language philosophy, and it certainly informed our work on the Master Plan for Warren Wilson’s new Center for Crafts and Creativity.
We worked closely in a participatory design process with Warren Wilson students, staff, faculty, and administrators, as well as our landscape architecture consultants, Sitework Studios, to prepare a Master Planning Study for what came to be called the “Craft Village”. Facilities included in the new campus area were studios for Blacksmithing and Sculpture, Fine Woodworking, and Fiber Arts, as well as a Multi-purpose building and Conference Center. Located on an undeveloped portion of the main campus, which had been recently gifted to the College, we sited the six new structures to take advantage of solar access, daylight, and natural breezes for ventilation. They were arranged around an outdoor common space with a clear pedestrian connection to the existing main campus, both crucial elements of the design.
The scope of the planning study also included conceptual plans and images for a new Blacksmith Shop and Sculpture Studio Building, which was designed to be built in phases and connected by a covered “dogtrot” between the two primary functional areas for blacksmithing and sculpting. The product of this master planning exercise is the WWC Craft Village Vision Book, which presents our visions, site design sketches, phasing plan, and conceptual design for the Blacksmith and Sculpture studios.
Landscape Architect: Sitework Studios
Additional Consultants: Warren Wilson College students, staff, faculty, and administrators