ELLSWORTH: The Hancock County Trustees of Public Reservations, governing board of Woodlawn, is pleased to announce it has hired Oudens Ello Architecture to develop a master property plan that will maximize the full potential of the property as both a museum and public park.
Oudens Ello Architecture was chosen after winning a competitive design charrette process. Boston-based, it is a full-service architecture and urban design office specializing in academic, cultural and institutional projects. Principals Matthew Oudens, AIA, LEED AP, Conrad Ello, AIA, LEED AP, and Paul Schlapobersky, AIA, LEED AP, bring a research-based approach to their projects yielding thoughtful, well reasoned solutions that respond to their unique physical and cultural contexts and reflect a close collaborative relationship with each client. Current clients include the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, Stonington Historical Society (CT), Dartmouth College, Williams College, and the towns of Eastham, Millis, and West Tisbury, Massachusetts.
As part of the master property plan, Oudens Ello Architecture will consider the re-establishment of the estate’s carriage barn structure, renovations to the historic kitchen Ell attached to the main historic house, and improvements to the 180 acre landscape, originally divided between the manor house portion of the site with its formal gardens and that of the working farm. The plan will address pressing space needs at Woodlawn including the desire for expanded programming, events, exhibitions, archival storage, organizational support, and research spaces for community use. The plan will also address issues of access, vehicular and pedestrian circulation, parking and facilities to better accommodate current visitor flow and an anticipated increase in the number of visitors to the estate.
“We are thrilled to hire Oudens Ello Architecture for this important project that will map Woodlawn’s future growth and expansion. As a firm, we felt they understood our needs, and Woodlawn’s unique characteristics, very well. As individuals, we felt their personalities and commitment to excellence would help guide us through this exciting moment in Woodlawn’s history,” remarked Joshua C. Torrance, Woodlawn’s executive director.
“We were immediately taken with the unique qualities of the Woodlawn estate and are honored to play a role in its stewardship as an important heritage site and growth as a vibrant public amenity. As with much of our work on historic properties in New England, we understand the delicate nature of this undertaking and how vital it is to strike the proper balance between delivering a visible, dynamic new facility for the institution, and at the same time respecting and preserving the Black House and its grounds as the primary focus and enduring image for visitors.” remarked Matthew Oudens, principal at Oudens Ello Architecture.
The project is expected to last several months and will result in a board approved master property plan. Consultant firms working with Oudens Ello Architecture on the project include Michael Boucher Landscape Architecture, the James E. Sewall Company, RSE Associates, Altieri Sebor Wieber Engineers, Consigli Construction, and Cosentini Associates. An anonymous source has provided the funding for the master property plan project.
Woodlawn, lived in by three generations of the Colonel John Black family, is an historic estate consisting of the famous Black House, landscaped gardens, barns, and 180 acres of fields and woods. The house, built between 1824 and 1827, contains its original furnishings and family archives. Woodlawn opened as a historic house and public park in 1929. Today, Woodlawn’s mission is to “offer the people of Hancock County and beyond opportunities for recreation and education on a preserved historic estate, and provide connections to the region’s cultural heritage through programs that arouse curiosity and entertain.” Programs and house tours are offered May through October. The public park is open year-round, sunrise to sunset. Woodlawn is located at 19 Black House Drive (off of Maine Rte. 172), Ellsworth, Maine. For more information visit www.woodlawnmuseum.org.