Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Waitsfield, Vermont offers over 80 hands-on courses per year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. Now in its 35th year, Yestermorrow is one of the only design/build schools in the country, teaching both design and construction skills. Our hands-on 1-day to 3-week workshops, certificate programs and semester programs are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yestermorrow in the News

Two articles were published this week featuring Yestermorrow faculty and alumni.

The first is one in today’s New York Times Home & Garden section by Karrie Jacobs which features Yestermorrow instructors Tom and Yumiko Virant, who designed and built an innovative (and beautiful) small home outside of Charlottesville, VA.

An excerpt:

Mr. Virant, a skilled carpenter and licensed contractor who teaches workshops at the influential Vermont design-build school Yestermorrow, incorporated the strategies the school stresses, especially passive solar heating (which means windows are positioned to mitigate heat gain in summer and maximize it in winter). The result is a modernist house with traditional detailing (tongue-in-groove wooden ceiling, exposed beams), highly efficient heating and cooling, and a clever layout.”

The second is a feature in this week’s New Yorker magazine by Alec Wilkinson entitled “Let’s Get Small: The Rise of the Tiny House Movement”. He interviews Yestermorrow alum Elizabeth Turnbull, who designed her tiny house in a Yestermorrow Home Design/Build class, then built it and brought it to graduate school with her at Yale.
(unfortunately unless you are a New Yorker subscriber you can only read the abstract online without paying).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Mosaic Scene Transforms the Arches

Typically students in our weekend Mosaics workshop create small mosaic palettes designed to be taken home. This year’s workshop had a more collective project. Inspired by renowned mosaics artist Isaiah Zagar's (very distinctive) style, Yestermorrow instructor Bette Ann Libby envisioned a mosaics piece that stretched the length of a 30-foot wall here on-campus and resonated with our hands-on approach to teaching. The project was ambitious and was completed in under one week with the help of the students, interns, and work-traders.

Completed mural

Bette Ann shares the details of the project with us: 'Fifteen people worked on the 30-foot long, 8-foot high mosaic wall. My sketch for the design used figures taken from photos from the Yestermorrow website. Mirror and tile (that were being discarded) were collected from local businesses and friends. We used about 15 gallon-sized containers of cut-up mirror and 25 laundry-sized bins of ceramic tile scraps!! The sketch was painted as a line drawing on the wall. Then each line was outlined in cut mirror rectangles. After the mirror outline was complete, the rest of the wall was designed using broken tile. The following day, the grout was applied in-between each piece of tile and mirror using colored grout which we mixed on-site. Although the design was pre-determined, there was a lot of latitude for the students to express themselves in the placement of the tile and the color of the grout. The group was very inventive, hard-working, and resourceful. We learned from one another and accomplished the transformation of the arched wall facing Route 100 in front of Yestermorrow.'
Join us on-campus August 27 from 4:30 - 6:30 PM for a public opening in celebration of the mosaic installation.

Nine students cut glass and tile, mixed and applied grout/cement,
and hodgepodgedly formed the mosaic construction scene

Mirror is applied around the outline of the mural figures

Mosaic progression: outline, tile placement, colored grout

Betty Ann paints the final outline

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Colombian Organization Reflects Yestermorrow Sensibilities

Nothing excites the Yestermorrow community as much as finding a kindred-spirit out there in the world. Ana Maria Gutierrez is one such person.

The Colombian-born, American-educated architect recently traveled from her home country to attend Yestermorrow’s Advanced Plasters course. During her stay, she made a presentation to the students on campus about her own organization, FundaciĆ³n Organizmo, which she founded in 2008 along side Itamar Sela, an Israeli horticulturist and landscape designer at the New York Botanical Garden.

Organizmo is an education and design center for sustainable habitats, bio-architecture, and intuitive technologies. Their goal is to take concrete steps toward the development of vulnerable communities by educating, empowering, and promoting the rescue of indigenous construction techniques and the revitalization and rediscovery of local resources.

At their EcoCampus in Tenjo, about 30 kilometers from Bogota, Gutierrez and her cohorts are experimenting and teaching workshops in building with straw, earth and recycled materials, utilizing alternative technologies, promoting the principles of Permaculture, and creating unique living roofs, walls, and eco-domes.

In addition to running courses, Organizmo has created a robust volunteer/intern program, welcoming individuals looking to learn and experiment. For more information about courses, programs, volunteer opportunities, or other ways to support their mission, visit their website.