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.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Shop Programming Meeting Notes

Phase 1a Shop Programming Meeting, September 17, 2105

We kicked off the design of Yestermorrow’s first building with a programming meeting that focused on the site plan as it relates to building design. Facilitated by the design team, Rob Bast and Mac Rood of Bast & Rood, and attended by staff, interns, faculty, and friends of Yestermorrow, a lively and productive discussion captured the enthusiasm around the start of our master plan build out.

Rob and Mac had an ambitious goal of addressing a list of nearly 20 topics related to site planning, including: circulation, building functionality, maintenance, solar exposure, sound, and many more. While we touched on all of the topics, the majority of the discussion focused on the following areas:

Building Location: There was considerable interest and support for building the first shop in the southernmost location of the shop building envelope (the master plan identifies a general building envelope within which 4 shop buildings are approved for construction). In this location, the building would support future campus construction phasing by creating an edge and node around which other features would congregate, it would offer visual importance to those entering campus and passersby, and it could serve as a marketing tool for the school.

Open Space: It is generally believed that one of the main “ingredients” of a successful Yestermorrow experience includes the presence of open, natural outdoor space on campus. By preserving the majority of the main green area located between the existing studio and the future shop buildings, space for activities, games, outdoor dining can continue to occur.

Road Construction and Circulation:
There was general sense that maintaining the tennis courts/southern parking lot for its varied use is important until its function is replaced with a future shop building. In this regard, the existing drive and the parking lot to the south of the existing drive would remain through Phase 1 or longer, to serve the functions they currently hold for Yestermorrow classes and the semester program. Discussions held after the programming meeting with our stormwater and wastewater engineers addressed this idea and confirmed that it would be a feasible strategy while also allowing our stormwater and wastewater planning goals to be achieved at the outset of the project.

Parking: Many of our students rely on their cars for transportation to/from campus as well as for secure storage while on campus. Because of this, it is important that we keep a designated area for parking during construction while also fulfilling one of the design principles of the master plan which focuses on locating parking in one spot, to the perimeter of campus, emphasizing the pedestrian-nature of the campus.

Building DNA:
Before the close of the meeting, each of the meeting participants were asked to share, in their own words, what they feel this building should encompass or achieve. The responses represent the creativity and excitement surrounding this project:
  • It should demonstrate design at Yestermorrow: design as fundamental to quality of building
  • It should be a fabulous building. It is first.
  • Building the shop first, the kingpin of the plan, reinforces Yestermorrow hands on.
  • Putting building to the south would make that role central in the campus.
  • Don’t miss opportunity to anticipate future energy consumption; conserve in structure, save bucks.
  • Build Awesome. Build Practical.  (asides: reinforces existing parking/tennis need, consider proximity to existing design studio)
  • Make it a great building: Transparency of teaching, of being able to see how the building is put together. document for the future, for teaching purposes. Be energy effective. Remember, we gotta get out of the tent! big problem now for year round operation.
  • Looking down on work going on: Love the sense of seeing what people are doing while moving around campus (looking down on wood shop now from walkway cited).
  • The first new building should project a valuable image for Yestermorrow; should be a great tool from a marketing perspective. Should somehow project what we believe in, what we want to teach, be inspiring, make intentional community building…the building can be a catalyst for people interacting creatively.
  • Invest in the building, less in the infrastructure until needed (future). Phase 1 may be in place for a long time, so consider it as stand alone until money supports next phases.

Tuesday, October 6, 7pm: Envelope and Mechanical Systems

Thursday, October 8, 7pm: Structure

Tuesday, October 13, 7pm: Delight, Aesthetics

Thursday, October 15, 7pm: Student Involvement

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Invitation to Shop Building Planning and Programming Sessions

Join us as we begin the design of Yestermorrow's first building in our master plan build out!

Following on the heels of the September 2nd kickoff meeting, the design team will be conducting six initial programming sessions to allow the Yestermorrow community to weigh in with feedback, ideas and dreams related to the design and construction of our new shop and classroom building.

We have divided the programming sessions by topic to allow people to focus on the areas that are of most interest to them. Of course, everyone is welcome to attend all six sessions if they wish. Please join us for any or all of the meetings.

Each evening will include a review of the program for the space and a focus on the core principles that guide the Yestermorrow master plan and the design of this building. It is important that the new shop advance key Yestermorrow ideals. Hence, What is the DNA of the building? What is the vision that frames all other considerations as we move forward with a design?

The meetings will be held at Yestermorrow from 7PM to 8:30PM. 

Thursday, September 17:  Site Plan 
In this session we are soliciting feedback on the location of the building and its relationship to the site, including vehicular and pedestrian circulation. We will be working within the context of the existing established master plan.

Tuesday, September 22: Shop Functionality
What are the requirements for an efficient and functional shop? Tool placement, clearances, material storage, dust control, safety, power considerations, truck and trailer access are a few of the topics to be considered.

Tuesday, October 6: Envelope and Mechanical Systems
What should be our energy goals and how can the design of the envelope best achieve them? What strategies should we consider, and what mechanical or energy generation systems should supplement the building performance?

Thursday, October 8: Structure
What structural systems should be considered? What materials should we consider? What are our resources? The strategy for clear-spanning the shop space will likely be the most formative design decision we will have.

Tuesday, October 13: Delight, Aesthetics
How will we achieve the “delight” that Vitruvius suggests should be part of any quality building? What should the guiding design principles be for this building?

Thursday, October 15: Student Involvement
What are the best ways to involve students in the design and construction of the shop building?  The session should be of particular interest to staff and teachers who wish to take advantage of this quintessential Yestermorrow project as an educational opportunity for their students.

If you can't attend sessions in person but would like to submit feedback or ideas via email, please contact Rob Bast at