The Spirit of Vermont in Norwich

by TruexCullins, January 29, 2013

What qualifies as the best examples of excellent new architecture in Vermont? That was the question addressed by Donald Kreis on yesterday’s episode of the popular Commentary Series on Vermont Public Radio.

Kreis is an attorney with Vermont Law School and a regular contributor to VPR.  In this episode, Kreis praises two of this year’s recipients of the AIA VT Excellence in Architecture Design Awards, including the King Arthur Flour campus expansion in Norwich, Vermont.
TruexCullins was pleased to learn recently that the King Arthur Flour project received a Merit Award from the Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.  The jury was impressed with the arrival sequence and the creation of a communal courtyard that connects the various program elements.  Also noted was the use of materials and forms that are harmonious with the site and effective daylighting strategies.  According to the jury, “This building captures the spirit of Vermont without being too referential.”
We owe much credit to ORW Landscape Architects and Planners for working with us to develop this overall site and building experience.
In his Commentary on VPR, Kreis expands on this concept of place-making with a comparison to another New England town anchored by a growing retail empire: Freeport, Maine.  Unlike this and other towns that have succumbed to a mall-ification of outlets and souvenir shops, Norwich has managed to retain its classic Vermont heritage while permitting – in fact, promoting – the growth of companies like King Arthur Flour.
The new building at King Arthur is based on the concept of the classic Vermont monitor barn, but with contemporary and artful detailing.  As Kreis states, “Whenever we fail to turn a piece of Vermont into another Freeport, and build something new and graceful instead, I say it’s time to break out the plaques and trophies.”
You can read (or listen to) the full Commentary at vpr.net:

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