A Writer’s Sanctuary

May 29th, 2012

When I teach my Sacred Space workshops, the concept participants resonate with the most is the idea of creating a space of their own.  A recent article in Architectural Record describes a delightful project that captures this notion of personal sanctuary.  Pictured below is the writing studio designed for Dennis Thompson by his son, Eric along with excerpts from the article.

“For Dennis Thompson, long stretches of solitude are critical. The Harvard political theory professor and author of national renown has published a dozen books—many of them written in the dimly lit basement of the country home he shares with his wife in Jaffrey, New Hampshire. With the recent influx of boisterous grandchildren, the professor increasingly needed a truly sequestered refuge for work. He turned to an architect he knew well: his son Eric, an NBBJ employee in Ohio who agreed to take on the project in his spare time.”

“The first question was whether to build an addition to the house or create a freestanding structure on the wooded property overlooking a sparkling, spring-fed pond. Dennis knew he wanted an elevated workspace with a view, in contrast to his former oubliette. “Staring at a blank screen can be depressing, and a dark place reinforces that,” he says. “I wanted to be up in the trees.”The Thompsons realized there was no logical way to add to the existing home and that only a separate building would provide the contemplative sanctuary Dennis desired. Eric’s solution: a single-room cabin on pilotis that is perched on a gentle slope and offers inspiring views of the water.  From the beginning, the architect was determined to reduce the building’s environmental impact. ‘We did not want to tear up the land,’ Eric says.”

“The project entailed various negotiations between father and son—”One’s parents are always one’s parents,” jokes Eric—as well as with local contractors, who were not accustomed to dealing with unconventional designs. It seems fitting that the professor’s most recent book, The Spirit of Compromise, was produced within his striking new think tank.”

To read the full article, follow this link:


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