Maya Lin to design studio for Fisher Center at Bard


Artist and architect Maya Lin has been selected to design a performing arts studio building for the Fisher Center at Bard (Bard College, in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York). Lin will work with architects Bialosky and Partners, and the theatre and acoustic consultant Charcoalblue.

The building will provide a home for Fisher Center LAB, the centre’s residency and commissioning programme for professional artists, which has developed and premiered celebrated productions such as Pam Tanowitz’s Four Quartets and Daniel Fish’s Tony Award-winning production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! It will also house rehearsal and teaching facilities for Bard’s undergraduate programmes in dance, and in theatre and performance.

The 25,000ft² building will contain five studios for artist residencies, rehearsals, informal performances, and dance and theatre classes, which will be connected by gathering hubs. It will function as a laboratory for the performing arts, where students and professional artists work side by side, informing each other’s practices and sharing their discoveries and works-in-progress with audiences from the Bard community and the public. With a sloping grass-covered roof, the spiral-shaped building will appear to emerge from the meadow surrounding it, encircling a grassy courtyard for outdoor classes, gatherings or performances.

Lin is particularly known for her large-scale environmental artworks, architectural works and memorial designs. Her recent commissions include the Neilson Library at Smith College in Massachusetts; the Museum of Chinese in America in New York City; and the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama. She was recently chosen to design a public art installation for the Obama Presidential Center in Chicago, Illinois. In 1981, Lin, then a 21-year-old architecture student, won the design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC, which remains one of the most visited public memorials in the world. She is also well-known to Hudson Valley residents for Wavefield, her spectacular earthwork at Storm King Art Center.

“Bard is honoured and proud to have Maya Lin as the architect of its new performing arts studio building,” said Bard College president Leon Botstein. “Her artistry will enhance the beauty of the Hudson Valley and offer a remarkable complement to Frank Gehry’s Fisher Center for the Performing Arts.”

“I am delighted to have been selected to design the performing arts studio building at Bard,” said Lin. “I have long admired the Fisher Center, and to be able to create a new building in close proximity to it allows me to create a quiet and respectful dialogue with Frank Gehry’s magnificent work. Frank was my teacher at Yale, and it’s particularly meaningful for me to design this new building in relation to his. I will set the studio building into the landscape, tucking it into a hillside so at first only its green roof will be visible. Yet the sloping land will allow double-height studios to open fully to the meadow and woodlands, connecting artists, students and faculty to the landscape while creating a unique and strong architectural presence. We are designing a high-performance, energy-efficient, low-carbon building that will be sensitive to its site, reflecting my aesthetic and my concern for the environment.”

“Our new studio building will help fulfil the purpose and potential of the Fisher Center after its first glorious two decades,” said Donovan Fisher, Fisher Center board chair. “Gehry’s building has two magnificent theatres, but our ambitious programme has expanded beyond the current facility, and we urgently need more space for rehearsals, smaller-scale performances and teaching. Maya Lin’s beautiful design will position the Fisher Center to leap into its third decade as one of the most vital and forward-thinking arts centres in the country.”

“As the Fisher Center approaches its 20th anniversary, we are deepening our mission as a creative home for artists, where we make radical, long-term investments in their practices at all stages of their careers, and help them realise their artistic dreams,” said Gideon Lester, Fisher Center’s artistic director. “It’s fitting that Maya Lin, herself a peerless artist, is developing this home for artists. Intimately in touch with its natural environment, at once grounded and taking flight, her building will unfurl from the meadow like an aperture between earth and air, to create a welcoming and inspiring laboratory for artists, students, faculty and the public.”

Ground-breaking for the US$42m studio building will take place in 2023, during the celebration of the Fisher Center’s 20th anniversary. Once completed, the building will expand the Fisher Center’s identity beyond the walls of Gehry’s stunning landmark, to become a cultural campus comprising both the Gehry and Lin buildings.

Share this story:

About Author


Izzy became editor of Auditoria magazine in 2018, having previously served as assistant editor on the title earlier in her career. She is also the editor of Business Jet Interiors International, Railway Interiors International and new launch Cruise Liner Interiors International. Over the course of a decade as a business-to-business magazine editor, Izzy has covered everything from airline catering to car safety technologies, autonomous vehicles and business aviation airports. Outside of work, Izzy loves watercolour painting, live music and travel.

Comments are closed.