August 16, 2016

Olana Summerhouse…drawn out

Olana Summerhouse Exhibit

The Follies, Function & Form: Imagining Olana’s Summer House exhibit opened this past weekend at Olana, Frederic Church’s historic home in the Hudson Valley, featuring inventive, imaginative designs by 21 invited architects and landscape architects, including a scheme by BKSK partners Joan Krevlin and Harry Kendall.

The design challenge presented was intriguing. Though there is no documentary evidence or surviving remains of Church’s fabled “Summer House,” it is clearly labeled on the 1886 “Plan of Olana.” The Olana Partnership, in collaboration with the New York chapters of the American Institute of Architects (AIANY) and the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA-NY) asked each invited designer to conceptualize the mysterious structure in a single sheet of sketches. Left to their own imagination for the structure’s function and form, Joan and Harry worked with BKSK’s Wei Lee to create a deconstructed vision inspired both by the site’s history and its current use, manifested in an ink-and-watercolor multimedia collage.

P-16_25_Olana Summer House_Submission_red_web

Olana Summerhouse _ drawn out

“As a choreographed arrival sequence conceived by Frederic Church, his house is intermittently seen from the ascending carriage road as a gradual series of revelations. His summerhouse surely played a role in the unfolding. A contemporary summerhouse is envisioned as an alternate path of access and exploration. Moments of partial enclosure offer pause and heighten perception.

Drawn out along an axis between house and pond, elements of a pavilion – foundation, stairs, walls, apertures and roof – punctuate a path of active engagement with Church’s constructed landscape. A re-imagined whole is evoked through (some of) its parts.”

Multimedia: ink, pencil, watercolor, digital rendering


The Olana Summer House Exhibit is open from August 14-November 13, 2016 at the Coachman’s House Gallery, and admission is free.

To read the New York Times article previewing the exhibit, click here.

Or view the feature in AIA New York’s In the News.