Tag Archives: cultural landscape

The Menokin Glass House: A Revolutionary Project

Once the home of Declaration of Independence signer Francis Lightfoot Lee, now the evocative crumbling ruins of an 18th century mansion in Virginia’s Northern Neck, Menokin aspires to a future like no other among American Revolutionary sites and conservation efforts.

Menokin is a multi-faceted place, rich in heritage and stories. The site spans 500 acres of land in close proximity to Washington, DC and other major cities and historic sites. At its center is the revolutionary rehabilitation of the Menokin house.

Remaining historical elements and some extracted structural materials from the house will be reinstalled, along with the beautiful woodwork that was removed before the house collapsed in the 1960s. The missing exterior walls, roof, and floors will be recreated in glass and steel to protect the remaining historic fabric, to restore volume and space, and to provide exhibit areas.

Architect Jorge Silvetti and his internationally known firm of Machado and Silvetti Associates leads an interdisciplinary team that has developed our plan. The Glass Project serves as the ultimate case-study in architectural innovation and moves beyond just breaking the mold of the traditional historic house museum. The real potential of Menokin lies in the opportunity to approach its preservation and interpretation in a truly innovative and revolutionary way, embodying the spirit of the place and Francis Lightfoot Lee himself.

History Detectives

cbgs camp web (3)The Menokin Visitor’s Center and Site played host for three days recently, when approximately 90 kids, ages 9 to 13, participating in the Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School Summer Program, came here to learn about the house, the land and the people who have lived here.

Organized by Menokin Education Coordinator, Alice French, each student was given a field book for their notes and observations. Among other things, they learned:

  • How to draw an elevation of the house CBGS-Summer-Camp-(5)
  • What materials make up the house, how they are layered and why and what the size, shape, landscaping and design of the house tells us about the people who lived in it.

Students studied examples of documents recording each families’ history here.
By looking at Menokin records – census, inventories, letters – they were able to make comparisons of changing relationships to the house.

Becky Marks and Sharon Parr from the Richmond County Museum brought in an extensive collection of Indian artifacts from the tribes that inhabited Menokin and nearby areas in pre-Colonial times. The students were able to handle projectile points, pottery shards and animal skins, and learned how they were made and what purposes they served in the day to day lives of these indigenous people.

History went underground in the afternoon when the students were able to work with a team of archaeologists from DATA Investigations on actual digs happening on the property. Two test units located in close proximity of the house were established to conduct professionally supervised excavations that incorporated student involvement while pursuing established research goals of the Menokin Foundation.

Existing artifacts were also available for students to learn methods of cleaning washing those that are actually excavated from the ground.

The week ended with a gaggle of happy campers!

"Happy campers!"
“Happy campers!”

 

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

PROGRESS REPORT ITEMS:

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

ROUTING THE MODEL

ASSEMBLY

LET THERE BE LIGHT!

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.

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

PROGRESS REPORT ITEMS:
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

PROGRESS REPORT ITEMS:
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.

Menokin: Education, Exploration, Enrichment – Day One

These words describe the very soul of Menokin’s mission. They represent all that Menokin has to offer, and when they are followed up by “A 500-acre classroom for heritage and natural resource conservation,” you can really get a picture of what goes on in this peaceful corner of the world.

Our mission was really put to the test this week, as Menokin played host to three different field trip groups from area schools. Each school represented a different age group and learning environment. But one thing was abundantly evident with all three. Kids love to learn, they love to explore, and they love to play.

DAY ONE – Tueday, November 6th
Aylett Country Day School, Millers Tavern, VA

Aylett is a small, private school in Essex County, VA, which is across the river from Richmond County, Menokin’s home. The school serves children from Preschool through the 8th grade. Students from Aylett come from many surrounding counties, including Essex, Richmond, King and Queen, King William and Middlesex.

The 8th-grade class visited Menokin on Tuesday. While they toured the visitor’s center, the conservation barn and the house site, the main purpose for their visit was to complete a community service project for Menokin. Armed with cans of orange spray paint, which managed to stay off the students, they hiked through the woods at Menokin with staff members Sarah Pope, Alice French and myself, marking the otherwise not-so-obvious path along the bluff overlooking Menokin Bay on Cat Point Creek.

A stop along the way introduced them to Thane Harpole of DATA Investigations, and his team of archaeologists conducting a survey here in conjunction with the Chesapeake Gateways Grant secured by Menokin earlier this year. The hike concluded with gathering water samples from Cat Point Creek and returning to the Visitor’s Center to test the water for oxygen and acidity levels.

The last few minutes before leaving were well used exploring 21st century  uses for colonial toys.

The Menokin Advisory Council shares its story

The Menokin Foundation is very fortunate to have an Advisory Council of professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, historic conservation, museum programs and cultural landscape which has been established to assist in the decision making process of the Glass Concept.

Staff members sat down with some of these advisors over dinner last fall and interviewed them about why they love Menokin, and why they have dedicated so much time to this project.

The result is this video which attempts to encapsulate the spark of imagination, inspiration and innovation that is Menokin.

We hope you will enjoy and share the video.