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Flansburgh Architects, Jacob’s Pillow Dance, Becket, Massachusetts

New Dance Studio for Jacob’s Pillow by Flansburgh Architects

Since 1931, the former farm has served as the headquarters for the dance ensemble. The first studios were in wooden barns once used for agricultural purposes. Flansburgh Architects received the commission from Jacob’s Pillow Dance, now an internationally known dance school and festival, to build a new Perles Family Studio. The architects describe the new structure as a tribute to Jacob’s Pillow and its barnyard past; the design relies on local building traditions and their “agricultural aesthetic”. For this reason, the 700-square-metre studio is constructed entirely of wood.

The area of the new dance space is nearly twice as big as that of the old main rehearsal room. The volume of the largest campus building was divided into several sections; this allows the studio to appear to have grown naturally – a barn with added smaller spaces such as verandahs and sheds. The multifunctional studio can serve either as a rehearsal or lesson space, but it is also an informal performance room for up to 200 spectators. The building belongs to a five-year development plan that foresees year-round use for the campus, including residences for performers, educational programs and research institutes.

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