News Feature

Deer Isle
Web exclusive, February 11, 2011
Haystack award only one of its kind in Maine

by Jamie Sarna

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, has been awarded the only “Save America’s Treasures” grant awarded in Maine this year. The National Park Service and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities announced the grant. Sixty-one grants were awarded to projects and institutions across the United States.

The school was awarded $125,000 to repair and update its landmark building. Built in 1962, the structure was designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes. One of the first architects to embrace the use of local materials, Barnes worked with the intent of creating little impact on the natural landscape. The building, which is unusual for its walkways and structures carried above the ground on concrete piers, won the American Institute of Architects’ 25-Year Award in 1994. As the building has aged, needs have become apparent. Funds were needed to replace the rotted carrying timbers and supporting posts and piers, as well as repair roofs and windows.

Haystack’s director, Stuart Kestenbaum, detailed the many steps required to apply for the “Save America’s Treasures” grant. “First, back in 2006, we put together the materials to have the building added to the National Register of Historic Landmarks. The Historic Preservation Board of Maine was helpful in so many ways.” Then, the “Save America’s Treasures” reviewers required a full listing of the economics of the renovation, and assurances that the work would be done with the greatest sensitivity to the original architect’s intention for the structures. “We like to know that we are following the footsteps of Edward Larrabee Barnes, that he would be proud of this project,” Kestenbaum said.

Haystack is celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer. Events include a series of conferences focusing on the links between architecture and design, as well as a seminar with the American Institute of Architects. Kestenbaum noted the auspicious timing: “We hope that this grant will help kick-start our efforts. We want to recognize the importance of sustainability and continue to build on our shared experience.”