Tag Archives: Architecture

People in Glass Houses Should Throw Parties

Well, officially we’re not IN the glass house yet. But it is certainly in us, as well as within a dedicated group of supporters and friends who came to the official Menokin Project Model unveiling party on Friday, October 4th.

Menokin Trustees and staff,  Union First Market Bank Officers and Board Members, and guests, gathered on the lawn at the house site to celebrate the arrival of the model in style.

Designed and fabricated by Machado and Silvetti Associates, LLC, the model will play a significant role in teaching about, and raising money for, the strategic rehabilitation of this National Historic Landmark.

Register Now for the Carpentry Conservation Workshop

Conservation at Menokin  CARPENTRY WORKSHOP

October 12 – 13, 2013


Carpentry Rack Card_front
Click image for link to a printable registration brochure.
  • Old growth and Second growth
  • Wood quality
  • Grading lumber
  • Specific woods for specific jobs
  • Skills and knowledge gained: a comprehensive understanding of unique qualities of wood species and their use in traditional building

Day 2: Traditional Tools and Methods

  • Traditional woodworking tools
  • How to make repairs to beams, splices, scarf joints, Dutchman etc.
  • Window design, restoration, and maintenance
  • Door design, restoration, and maintenance
  • Skills and knowledge gained: a preliminary
    knowledge of traditional wood working tools and their uses; an understanding of the traditional design of wood windows and doors, how to restore them, and tips for routine maintenance


Land Art Field Trip Reflection

By Alice French – Education and Outreach Coordinator at Menokin

JULY 3, 2013

I spent the day today with Lance and Carl and their Grandmother, Frances Lively.

We learned a little bit about Francis Lightfoot Lee and his house explored the Visitor Center with a scavenger map.

Next we talked about the landscape we were in.  We talked about the importance of taking care of the land and water here too.  Next we looked at some images by land-art artist, Andy Goldsworthy.

Alice, our day at Menokin was a definite highlight of the week. My grandson did not stop talking about it and gave a full briefing to his grandfather and his parents. Your knowledge, Menokin’s story, and our walk through the house helped transport us to Francis Lightfoot Lee’s era. Thanks for a terrific adventure.

Then we went on a hike.  We looked at all the different types of plants we could identify.  We walked down the trail to Cat Point Creek.  Along the way we talked about the rolling roads and boats coming up the creek to ship merchandise down the Rappahannock River.  We identified different trees on the trail, came across a box turtle, and looked for other wild life.

After the trail hike, we took a break at the picnic tables under the trees by the House.  Here we pulled out some maps and talked about what a watershed is. 

We walked around the house and talked about the architecture and gardens.

Finally before we were done, we made our own piece of Land Art.  The boys looked for something in the landscape and built a design inside a tree trunk with walnuts which had fallen to the ground.  The first design followed the swirling pattern of the tree trunk.  The second one filled up the entire trunk and topped it off with a feather found lying on the ground in front of the house.

It was hot!  But we had a lot of fun!  And remembered that tomorrow we are celebrating the fact that Francis Lightfoot Lee, would be signing the Declaration of Independence.

Go Frank!

The Reveal

I hope you have enjoyed seeing the progress of The Menokin Project model as it has evolved from a sketch to a finished piece of art.

Harvard Graduate School of Design students Carmine D’Alessandro and Alex Jacobson, and Machado and Silvetti Project Manager Jayne Kang – under the supervision of lead architect, Jorge Silvetti – have delivered a masterpiece of model making that will undoubtedly help The Menokin Foundation take this project to the next level.

We would like to once again express our boundless appreciation to Union First Market Bank for their generous gift that made this all possible.

With no further ado, may I present to you……………….The Model.

Menokin Model – Progress Report (Week 4)

Production of this model was made possible by a generous grant from Union First Market Bank.

Project Progress Reports from:
Jayne Kang | Project Manager, Senior Designer | Machado and Silvetti Associates, LLC


Week 4 –07/15/13-07/19/13
Model production:
– Final site model production [routed on the CNC milling machine]
– Laser cut all final parts of the assembly [i.e. rainscreen, armature for 1/16” models]
– Run lighting tests with the assembled 3/16” model
– Produce a test for the plaque that will be placed on the final model
– Run final tests for the liner’s gradient
– Preliminary fit-out of the entire assembly




Preliminary lighting test on overall assembly to calibrate the liner’s opacity, brightness and the overall ambiance.
Preliminary lighting test on overall assembly to calibrate the liner’s opacity, brightness and the overall ambiance.

Drum Roll, Please

The model is finished.


It was delivered to Menokin this morning by Alex Jacobson and Carmine D’Alessandro, the Harvard Graduate School of Design students, who constructed it under the supervision of Jorge Silvetti. They drove it down, under the cover of darkness, from Boston arriving late last night in Tappahannock.

Here is a sneak peak. But you’ll have to wait until next week to see the model. Why? Because I’m mean. And I want you to salivate!

Menokin Model – Progress Report (Week 3-Part II)

Production of this model was made possible by a generous grant from Union First Market Bank.

Project Progress Reports from:
Jayne Kang | Project Manager, Senior Designer | Machado and Silvetti Associates, LLC

Week 3 – Part II: 07/08/13-07/12/13
Model production:
– Final modeling adjustments to the armature model for printer
– Final digital site model adjustments for running tool paths
– Selection, purchase, lamination, drying and sanding of wood for the site model
– Model to be routed on Tuesday, July 16.
– 3D prints for House armature go to printer Monday
– 1/16” model pieces out for final print Monday

That’s a lot of clamps!

View the previous Progress Report here.

Menokin Model – Progress Report (Week 3-Part I)

Production of this model was made possible by a generous grant from Union First Market Bank.

Project Progress Reports from:
Jayne Kang | Project Manager, Senior Designer | Machado and Silvetti Associates, LLC

Week 3 – Part I: 07/01/13-07/03/13
Material, Assembly and Visual Testing (liner, rainscreen, historic walls, etc)
– North Elevation Full-Assembly Study [continued]
– Typical Armature Corner and Roof Rainscreen Assembly Study
– Test prints of different woods for the site base Model production:
– Final 3/16” ZCorb Print – Final 1/16” ZCorb Prints [Existing(x1)], Proposed (x2)]
– Final modeling adjustments to the armature model for printer

Included in this progress report are digital renderings and photos that document two major efforts made in the course of this short week, which involved:

1) finalizing the quality of material and level of resolution in the site model, with consideration to cost and aesthetics; and

This model is to represent the concept design that was submitted and approved in March 2013.  We decided to lightly reflect the concepts of the Landcape Architects - Reed Hilldebrand -  in the model, using a homogeneous material palette.
This model is to represent the concept design that was submitted and approved in March 2013. We decided to lightly reflect the concepts of the team’s Cultural Landcape Architects – Reed Hillderbrand – in the model, using a homogeneous material palette.

White oak (second from bottom) was the winner!

White oak (second from bottom) was the winner!

2) studies of various isolated assembly details (i.e. mechanical connections, lighting, aesthetic effects when combining the layered elements) in order to come up with something that is clean, most accurately representative, stable and has the best visual effect.

See the first progress report here.

The Menokin Project Model is in the Making

The Menokin Foundation is pleased to announce that it has received a generous $25,000 grant from Union First Market Bank to fund the building of a scaled architectural model of the Foundation’s Menokin Project.

The finished model, which will be used in the Foundation’s educational and public awareness initiatives, is being fabricated by the internationally-recognized architecture firm of Machado and Silvetti Associates, LLC.  The model is based upon Machado and Silvetti’s concept design for the rehabilitation of the Menokin ruins—once home to Declaration of Independence signer, Francis Lightfoot Lee—into an exhibition and conservation center that provides a revolutionary approach to the study of history, architecture, the arts, and conservation.

The design incorporates developing new systems to support and combine architectural glass with the remaining historic fabric. This strategic rehabilitation will accurately represent the shape and volume of this 18th-century National Historic Landmark.

Production for the model is currently underway, and is scheduled to be completed in early August.  Several students from the Harvard Graduate School of Design, who recently participated in a studio class focusing solely on Menokin, are assisting Machado and Silvetti on the model fabrication as summer interns.

Construction of the model uses Computer-numerically-controlled (CNC) machine tools. These tools require sophisticated CAD/CAM software to translate three-dimensional models into simple text files that directly control tool motion through combinations of linear and rotational motion. The images below illustrate this 3-D printing process in action.

Harvard Design Students Present Their Ideas for Menokin

By Sarah Pope
Executive Director, The Menokin Foundation

Away from the quiet fields of Menokin, I traveled to bustling Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 5 for a much anticipated day at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD).  Twelve architecture graduate students in Professor Jorge Silvetti’s studio, “Ruins, Memory and the Imagination,” would be presenting their individual projects for a Conservation Research Laboratory; a Visitors Center; and Visitors Waterside Harbor at Menokin, as well as the design of all elements necessary to structure and present the Menokin site narratives to the visitor.

The students had been working on their projects for several months, following a weekend-long site visit in February to Menokin and the Northern Neck.  The Menokin Foundation provided the opportunity for these students to explore contemporary architectural design solutions to tell the story of our historic site.

We’re planning for a future curated exhibit and publication that presents the Harvard students’ innovative ideas to the public.  More details will be forthcoming, but in the meantime, here are themes and associated designs that floated to the top for me as I watched the project presentations:

1)      Designing for flexibility: one student designed very cool mobile archaeological stations or pods that can be moved around the site as we continue our investigations.

2)      Finding inspiration in painting and fine arts: another student found inspiration from the lines he saw on the Menokin landscape, and his proposed Visitors Center evoked the work of artist Marco Migani.

3)      The changing terrain of the site: plateau and ravine, water and woods, open and enclosed: I was particularly enamored by one student’s design of a bridge and attached Visitors Center that spans a ravine to the south of the Menokin house site.

4)      Siting and perspective-relationship of new buildings to Menokin: Some students anchored their Visitors Center to the Menokin house—at certain corners of the house or on its central axis—that created a visible dialog between the historic and contemporary structures. Others tucked their new facilities away from the house site into the tree line of our expansive woods, reinforcing the flat, openness of the plateau surrounding the house site.

Above all, the interpersonal, human aspect of this studio—meeting the students, getting to know them and enjoying their unique perspectives on Menokin—was extremely fulfilling to me, as well as to our Trustees, staff, and friends who met the students in February.