Set above the banks of the Hoopes Reservoir and adjacent to a historic 1930s mansion, the Linda L. Bean Conference Center provides a rare opportunity to contribute to the landscape of Delaware’s historic Brandywine Valley. Surrounded by rolling hills and dense forests, the new building takes cues from the materiality of the local vernacular architecture and the Georgian details of the existing house.
The conference center combines a welcoming, residentially scaled Foyer and a pavilion-like and barrel-vaulted Event Hall to provide flexible public spaces that will host lectures, banquets, and seminars for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. The materiality of the project—including red oak flooring harvested from the woods of Maine, an antique stone fireplace mantle, decorative iron detailing, cut stone columns, the richly textured local field stone, and elegantly detailed millwork—tie the project to its landscape, the history of the property, the rich tradition of American building arts, and the building’s own benefactress. Each of the primary rooms aims to feature the stunning and varied landscape during all four seasons, while the Entry Court and Courtyard provide additional outdoor space to be used by the organization during both larger public events and their day-to-day operations.