Art Omi debuts new architect and artist–designed pavilions in Chatham, New York

At Art Omi, a series of new architect-designed pavilions will stretch across a 190-acre pastoral landscape in Chatham, New York. The projectofficially known as Art Omi Pavilions @ Chatham—broke ground in May, and will debut 18 carbon-neutral pavilions collaboratively designed with artists and collectors. The multiphase endeavor features artists like Alice Aycock and Torkwase Dyson and architecture firms like SO — IL, Jahn/, and BKSK Architects.

The first phase comprises three pavilions, and AN spoke with the collaborators working on two currently in the works: sculptor Alice Aycock and Jahn/, and BKSK and art collectors Susan and Michael Hort. BKSK is also designing the site’s new visitor center.

BKSK’s pavilion with Susan and Michael Hort is a simple building that offers a calm and discreet design. It includes a corrugated-metal envelope and wood paneling, which is meant to highlight both art and landscape. The 2-story structure runs perpendicular to a ridge so that it can “tuck itself into the hill.”

Hort Pavilion
BKSK led design for Susan and Michael Hort’s pavilion. (Courtesy BKSK Architects)

Krevlin told AN that the pavilion “really embeds itself in the land so that the lower level of the building responds to the earth. The upper portion of the building will be a slightly metallic material that actually reflects the sky and takes on the light of the changing day.”

The pavilion will house work from the Hort’s extensive art collection. The art collectors wanted the building to provide maximum flexibility so that a variety of mediums and styles could be properly exhibited. Accordingly, the consideration of light and its relationship to the work on display informed much of the design. 

“We’re trying to be very strategic about our use of natural light to allow for flexibility of the exhibitions,” Krevlin said. “The gallery has a handful of very discrete moments where natural light is brought in and one can look back out again to the site.”

Additionally, BKSK is also designing the new visitor center on site; the fourth structure in the works as part of Phase 1. The center, which features a large overhanging timber roof framing a view of the Catskills, will include a cafe and education spaces. The two works are related, but the pavilion, as described by Krevlin, is “distinct” from the visitor center and yet “aware” of it.

Visitor Center
BKSK’s visitor center features a cantilevered roof and expansive views. (Courtesy BKSK Architects)

“We see [the visitor center] as a place of orientation, and also playing the role of a good host,” Joan Krevlin of BKSK told AN in an interview. “The center is trying to be somewhat quiet but primarily welcoming, just to make sure people—particularly those who may not be art visitors or art lovers, but who find themselves here—feel like this is a place that belongs to everybody.”

Yet above all each pavilion responds to the Art Omi site and landscape, becoming extensions of the cultural center’s already robust programming. Woodlands, pasture meadow, and wetlands are open to visitors to explore, but to complete the new pavilion section, Assemblage Landscape Architects will lead the landscape design. Some of the firm’s goals are to enrich existing ecology and expand the tree canopy. New meadow and forest trails will also be added for visitors to explore. 

“Each pavilion is individually responding to first, the site, and second, the particular work,” Krevlin said. “They each have different characters, but are all respectful of the land, because it’s a really beautiful site.”

The pavilion helmed by sculptor Alice Aycock, in collaboration with Jahn/, speaks to this relationship between art and landscape. A roof with a large glass band—fashioned to bring natural light into the studio space and reflect the sky—slopes into the grass. Trees twist out from intentionally placed apertures. In an interview with AN, Jahn/’s Phillip Castillo described the pavilion as “growing out of the landscape.”

Aycock Pavilion 1
Alice Aycock’s pavilion is a collaboration with Jahn/ and includes 5,000 square feet of exhibition space to house her sculptures. (Courtesy Jahn/)

Aycock, renowned for her large-scale, spiraling sculptures, is no stranger to designing structural forms. In seeking inspiration for the pavilion, Aycock turned to her earlier work, particularly Low Building With Dirt Roof. She told AN, “I work like an architect.” Aycock completed designs for the pavilion in her studio before working with Castillo. The pair had already collaborated, as Aycock completed a sculpture for the interior of 1301 Pennsylvania Avenue, a Jahn/ building.

“We really selected each other [for the pavilion],” Aycock said. “There was a synergy between us.”

The pavilion will replicate a warehouse feeling similar to industrial art galleries in New York City—of which, of course, Aycock is wholly familiar. The building offers high ceilings and approximately 5,000 square feet of space for Aycock to assemble and install her work. 

“So much of my work has been out there in the public. One never knows how it’s maintained,” Aycock told AN. “[The Art Omi Pavilions] are a way to say, ‘this is what I did over a period of 50 years,’ as opposed to it being in storage somewhere and only coming out for a couple of months.”

The Art Omi Pavilions @ Chatham join a growing ecosystem of art and architecture in the Hudson Valley. Take Studio Gang’s new home for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, or the Magazzino Italian Art Center in Cold Spring. For years, urban art galleries have dominated the contemporary art scene. The pavilions are asking, why not try to interact with art in a different way? 

Aycock isn’t alone in her excitement for the Art Omi Pavilions @ Chatham: “It gives people a way of viewing art that is not just gallery-oriented. It provides an alternate view. Artists can be ambitious and make art out in the world and in the landscape.”

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top