Story: Farmhouse Repurposed
Converting a residence into a conference center posed practical dilemmas furthered by use of sustainable architectural practices to attain LEED certification. Key challenges according to Troy Wohlt of Uihlien-Wilson Architects, were integrating modern HVAC, providing ADA accessibility and incorporating historic-type fixtures into an energy efficient LEED building. "Finding the right blend of function, efficiency and beauty for the interior required extensive research and creativity from the project team." said Wohlt.
In 2010 the breathtaking Lynden Sculpture Garden officially opened to the public, "[offering] a unique experience of art in nature ... sited across 40 acres of park, lake and woodland." In 2009 the Bradley Family foundation resolved to transform the once private home of Harry and art collector, Jane, Bradley into a cultural and educational conference center.
Aesthetic challenges were also presented. The designers on the project were respectful not to conceal existing architecture and strove to retain Mrs. Bradley's unique design sensibilities, including purposeful views from the house to the sculpture garden. At the heart of the dwelling is an 1860's farmhouse. While the home expanded over the years to accommodate a growing family and art collection, more space was needed to serve the public. The 2009 addition overlooking the gardens addressed accessibility, public restrooms and allowed for extra gallery space. Classrooms and offices were carved out of the original residence. Troy Wohlt recalled that "great care was taken to blend the addition with the existing structures on site, with a goal to maintain the warm residential aesthetic with high-quality craftsmanship."
The interior finishes for the renovation and addition were chosen to balance three objectives, recounts Susie Fondrie of Uihlein-Wilson, "to extend the original flavor of the farmhouse, reflect the essence of Peg Bradley's design aesthetic... and future use as a public facility." For example, the old laundry room was mostly stone, therefore bluestone was used for the floors of the public restrooms that replaced former laundry space. The black sinks in the restrooms echo originals found in the home's bathrooms. Many of the original plumbing and lighting fixtures were preserved and restored when possible.
Where originals were missing or not salvageable, appropriate vintage fixtures were chosen or custom fixtures were made to compliment originals. For example, the dining room is furnished with restored original furniture however the chandelier was missing. A vintage chandelier was selected from Brass Light Gallery's collection of vintage lighting to fill the space and complement the silver displayed in the china cabinet.
An original ceiling fixture provided design direction for the custom sconce. Two were crafted to flank the mirror in the 2nd floor bathroom.
While thoroughly sophisticated, the interior spaces at Lynden have an air of informality inviting guests to linger and enjoy exhibits and the views of the garden beyond. Uihlein-Wilson Architects succeeded, through creativity and care, to simultaneously conserve the essence of Lynden's past and embrace the future of art, culture and sustainable design.
Read our earlier story focusing on the Exterior and Landscape at Lynden.
More information on The Lynden Sculpture Garden.
Albeck, Elisabeth. "Sunday in the Park: A sneak peek at the Lynden Sculpture Garden." Third Coast Digest.com. Online, 28 May 2010.
Dunigan, Peggy Sue. "The Lynden Sculpture Garden Reveals the Art of Harry and Peg Bradley." ExpressMilwaukee.com. Online, 25 May. 2010.
Lawerence, Julie. "Lynden Sculpture Gardern Shares Its Beauty With The Rest of Us." OnMilwaukee.com. Online, 11 May 2010.
Schumacher, Mary Louise. "Bradley Sculpture Garden Preparing For Big Changes." JSOnline.com. Online, 30 May 2009.
"Lynden Sculpture Garden." Press Release, 30 April 2010.
Youngmann, JoAnn. "A Brief History of Lynden." 2010.
Uihlien-Wilson Architects. "Lynden Project Narrrative." Online, 2010.