“The Ragdale Nooks” by Kwong Von Glinow Design Office was one of the many submissions to the 2018 Ragdale Ring competition. Hosted by the esteemed Ragdale artists' residency in Lake Forest, Illinois, the yearly competition seeks proposals for a temporary outdoor garden theater that also reinterprets the original 1912 Ragdale Ring by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. The winner then gets to design, build, and exhibit their Ragdale Ring, where summer outdoor events can take place.
“The Ragdale Nooks” is a ring of recessed alcoves, andirons, inglenooks, and window seats. According to Kwong Von Glinow, their proposal is “a collection of ‘built-ins’ borrowed from Howard Van Doren Shaw’s Ragdale House to be ‘built-out’ on Ragdale’s estate”
The designers shared more details about their entry below.
Paying tribute to the comfort of Shaw’s vision of the home, the Ragdale Nooks celebrate these domestic subsidiary spaces as primary appendages for Ragdale’s ring for performance. Echoing the design agenda of Shaw’s original Ragdale Ring, the Ragdale Nooks allows for an intimate audience experience: a space for informal encounter, respite, and meaningful engagement.
The use of recessed alcoves, andirons, inglenooks, and window seats - or more broadly nooks - are essential to to the quality of home in Howard Van Doren Shaw’s Ragdale House. Each nook is unique and specific, while not assigning a precise function to itself. This dual quality fosters casual and intimate moments that liberate these rooms of static uses.
The 4’ Datum
Cut at four feet, the plan showcases a new horizontal datum of these nooks. Spatializing the perimeter of the home’s autonomous rooms, the nooks deepen the space between interior and exterior. At four feet tall, the plan cut captures the richness of uses one could imagine for these nooks.
A Series of Nooks
Three nooks from the Ragdale House are borrowed and duplicated to form a new arrangement as an open perimeter for the 2018 Ragdale Ring. The nooks are level at 4’ tall, inviting visitors and audience members to sit, lay, walk, and climb on them. Each nook is re-formed with simple, planar perforated plywood. The perforated weather-resistant material allows water and light to penetrate through to the ground below and decreases the seat’s weight. The coated plywood is durable for Ragdale’s events throughout 2018.
The entrance window seat at the Ragdale House informally offers itself as a place for waiting, an interluding moment before the day’s journey, and not least a cozy seat for two. At four feet tall, the Ragdale Nook offers inset seating for two and private ledge seating for one on each side.
The fireplace inglenook at the Ragdale House offers a space apart: it is at once the appendage and the focus of the Living room. Deeply recessed, a series of surfaces offer spaces for informal seating, whether atop the four foot structure for expansive uninterrupted views or within the nook for cozy seating for three. This nook offers a covered space for weather protection for audio equipment.
The window seat alcove gives the dining room a second informal focus. Mediating between the interior and the exterior, the window seat offers enough space for sitting, leaning, or lying with one’s feet off the ground. This nook’s multiple horizontal surfaces create varied spaces for lounging and taking a seat to view performances. This nook is large enough to gather with a group of family, friends, or new acquaintances.
The Ragdale Nooks offer intimate moments for conversation, reflection, and respite from our busy day-to-day lives. The Ragdale Nooks give visitors and audience members a space immersed in nature populated with a set of domestic-scale built-arounds, paring the comfort of the interior with the magic of nature.
All images and project text courtesy of Kwong Von Glinow Design Office.
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