Foster Retreat

Martha’s Vineyard, MA, USA. 2018 - ongoing

The Norman Foster Foundation has developed the concept design for the retreat at Martha’s Vineyard.

Designed as a flexible space to accommodate a range of multi-disciplinary activities including think tank sessions, workshops and seminars, the retreat will also host a residency programme for selected fellows of the Norman Foster Foundation.

Every aspect of the retreat’s design is in response to the local climate and aimed at having a positive environmental impact. It respectfully integrates with the landscape and takes inspiration from the architecture of the region, especially from traditional American barns.

Its rural site which slopes down to the edge of a creek is being extensively landscaped with trees and indigenous grasses. The single-storey building opens up to views of the water and its simple monopitch shape recalls barn-like structures in the New England tradition. The dominant material are wood boarding and timber window framing set within minimal steel portal frames. Over time, the external cedar will weather with a silvery patina which relates to the expressed grey painted structure. This combination of greys is typical of vineyard buildings that visually recede into the landscape. The southern boundary of the site is a linear solar farm to harvest energy.