Bennington College joins National Register of Historic Places | Local News

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BENNINGTON – Bennington College has received two honors, including being listed on the National Register of Historic Places, for its architectural and landscape preservation.

Although some individual buildings are already listed on the National Register, this new recognition applies to the entire campus, including 53 of the 63 buildings that make up the college. It also honors the history of the landscape, which was initially agricultural.

“It gives a level of recognition to the quality of the campus that will hopefully inspire people who wouldn’t ordinarily engage with campus to come here and explore it,” said the vice president of management. Facilities and Planning, Andrew Schlatter. I worked for a year with a team to obtain recognition from the National Register. I noticed that historical walking tours are available for the public.

“It also cements the value of the physical aspects of the campus for our internal community as well,” he added. “It’s a pride.”

Additionally, the Vermont Chapter of the American Institute of Architects presented Centerline Architects of Bennington with an Award of Merit in the Historic Preservation, Adaptive Reuse, and Rehabilitation category for The Barn at Bennington College. This price reflects the design to rebuild part of The Barn which burned down in 2019.

AIA Vermont noted that the exterior reflects The Barn’s original agricultural appearance, but the interior has been redone into a 21st-century university office building. Schlatter said The Barn was initially just that – a farm barn for cattle – but it was one of the first buildings to be converted after the college bought the property, reflecting the old and the new.

“It’s really a straight line,” Schlatter said.

“Bennington College’s historic architecture, brilliant restorations and new buildings reflect Bennington’s history of design and creativity,” Bennington College president Laura Walker said in a statement. “We are delighted with these two accolades, as they recognize our willingness to embrace our history and look to the future.”

The campus is home to the 1785 Shingle Cottage, Jennings Stone Estate, Colonial Revival homes, and Mid-Century Modernist structures.

“The unique and striking beauty of the Bennington Campus stems from the dynamic interplay between our diverse and remarkable architecture, the landscape that grounds and inspires them, and the community that inhabits them,” Schlatter said in a statement. “It is our privilege to preserve these buildings, even as we adapt their uses to meet today’s ever-changing needs.

He worked with Historic Preservation Consultant Paula Sagerman and State Architectural Historian Devin Colman of the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation (VDHP) to achieve National Register recognition. The nomination work was funded in part by a Certified Local Government Grant from the VDHP, which Bennington College applied for in conjunction with the City of Bennington.

Schlatter said much of the year-long work was spent researching each building, researching archives, researching historical documents, photographing buildings and facades, and exploration of the history of the land before its purchase by the college. This includes its use in the 19th century as small farms, its late 19th and early 20th century conversion to an estate, and its development into a college in the 1930s.

The college was founded in 1932 as a women’s liberal arts college designed to “dissolve formal barriers between curriculum and extracurricular life and between faculty and students,” the school said in a statement. The first buildings constructed specifically for the college were the Central Commons Building and 12 student houses surrounding Commons Lawn.

At the same time, the existing agricultural structures and buildings on the Jennings Estate were adapted for use by the college while retaining their original character. Beginning in 1959, with the Edward Clark Crossett Library designed by Pietro Belluschi, “campus development was characterized by modern, strongly geometric architecture set on the grounds in a less formal arrangement. These newer buildings, while making an architectural statement in their own right, provide contrast and counterpoint to the vernacular buildings of the “farmhouse” era and the colonial revival structures of the first college. For more information about the college, visit https://www.bennington.edu/.

Schlatter said the National Register recognition honors Bennington College’s commitment to preserving the historic and incorporating the most modern.

“It really tells the story, the fact that he is recognized in this way,” he said. “The campus is truly a unique collection of architecture.”

Bennington College joins National Register of Historic Places | Local News

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