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Farnsworth Homestead

Client Farnsworth Art Museum
Date 2012
Size 16,000 ft2
Budget n/a
Collaborator SOFTlab

Our response to the Fansworth Museum’s request to re-imagine its Homestead for a nuclear family is a daring examination of residential space as the interface between the patron, the community, and local artists.  As a means to construct a certain friction and specificity for the exhibition, our proposal questions both the nature and dynamics of the client family, as well as the nature and dynamic of a 21st Century homestead and its relation to the larger constructs including its complicit relationship with the current museum.

The homestead proposal consists of a thin bar of permeable program and a related public gathering space. An inflatable surface creates an indoor/outdoor public space in relation to the new homestead. This mutable surface changes to accommodate functions regardless of weather or season. The ground floor orchestrates different degrees of public activity and private use to include the community in their new home. There are public and private entrances to allow the community to pass through to the activities in the park beyond. The second floor allows Mr. and Mrs. Farnsworth to loosely accommodate their private life as well as providing rooms for guests and artists.  There are bedrooms for the children and several stairs to facilitate access and flexibility. The façade of the new homestead inflates and deflates along with the enclosure surface, allowing the interior to grow and deal with the changing climate.

The larger site also expands and contracts to accommodate the change in season. In the winter the surface inflates to create a protected, semi-enclosed space for gathering and artistic work. The translucent surface offers protection from the elements and sunlight, both much needed in the harsh Maine winters. This naturally-lit space for artists and local merchants contains several artist studios and a large exhibition space where local artisans and farmers can sell their goods. In the summer the surface deflates to the ground, leaving the occupiable topography adjacent to the homestead available for farmers markets and public gatherings. The softly sloped outdoor space will be an ideal place for warm-weather community events.