Open to the Elements explores innovative approaches for historic
preservation, sustainable rehabilitation, and multi-use repurposing of
space, using Headlands’ historic gymnasium (Building 952, Fort Barry)
as the case study or “client.” This former military gymnasium has long
served as a venue for both artist studios and public events at
Headlands, but has the potential to be so much more. This workshop
will re-imagine the existing building, bringing to light its potential
uses for artists, visitors, and the Park Service, taking into
consideration the surrounding wildlife, watersheds, and plant species.

Participants will research issues such as National Park Service
land-use ordinances, historic preservation best practices, innovations
in sustainable design, and energy systems and construction, all in the
service of generating proposals for future consideration by Headlands
and the National Park Service. This project is the latest concept
following in the tradition of earlier Headlands’ artist-driven
commissions that address on-site facilities, including those
envisioned and led by David Ireland, Ann Hamilton, Bruce Tomb and John
Randolph, and Leonard Hunter and Mark Cavagnero.

Q and A

  • How to bring new life to the building without losing the patina?
  • How can we use strict rules of preservation to our advantage?
  • How do we make artistic and philosophical ideas work?
  • What can we learn by doing?
  • What can the Gym do for the environment?
  • Can the Gym be a source of energy?
  • How do we do civilization in the wilderness right?