Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Monika A. & Charles A. Heimbold, Jr. Visual Arts Center

Click on image titles for larger views.
Institution Name: Sarah Lawrence College
Original/Historic Place Name:
Location on Campus:
Date(s) of Construction:
2002-2004original construction Rodriguez, Susan for Polshek Partnership Architects
Designer: Susan Rodriguez of Polshek Partnership Architects
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Postmodern, Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, education
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: glass, metal, wood, concrete
Roof: metal, concrete
ca. 2004-present (2006)academic department building (visual arts center)

Until the mid-1980s, the visual arts program at Sarah Lawrence--a small, private, coeducational, liberal arts college--was completely housed in one building. The program has since overflowed into additional makeshift spaces throughout the campus. Our design will bring the visual arts department under one roof, accommodating its various space needs while meeting safety and environmental standards that make the new Visual Arts Center LEED compliant. The new Center will have six studio spaces that will be used interchangeably for sculpture, painting, and visual fundamentals. Other program elements include faculty offices, general teaching classrooms, soundstage, darkroom, and printmaking facilities, a visual resources library, and a 200-seat auditorium. The building will be integrated into the landscape and the surrounding campus through a design that is sensitive to the undulating topography of the campus and the scale of surrounding structures. Entrances and exits to the Center are designed to encourage students and faculty to use the building as a passageway through the campus so that the visual arts can be integrated with daily academic and student life. The use of skylights and open spaces between levels will reinforce a sense of transparency and will allow sunlight to permeate the building and provide a view of artists at work.
An excellent example of intelligent late Modernism, the Heimbred Center is Polshek Associates first major structure in Westchester. Susan Rodriguez and her design team have composed a structure that responds to the vistas and materials of the traditional Neo-Tudor style of many other forms and buildings. The design is broken into a series of square and rectangular pavilions that break the mass into discrete domestic scaled forms. The variety of materials references the palette of surfaces that distinguish the campus ensemble. A broad open plaza on ground level masks a large subterranean level comprising film making studios and mechanicals. Over 60,000 sq. ft. on a very circumscribed plot, the Heimbold Center symbolizes Sarah Lawrence's commitment to the visual arts, creative interaction, and interdisciplinary learning.


"Building Without Boundaries." Online (2006). Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY.

Regan, Celia. "Open Doors." Online (2006). Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY.


Contact us / About Site / About CIC
© 2006
Council of Independent Colleges
Washington, DC
All rights reserved
Last update: November 2006