2024 Apr 18

Bennington College Adaptive Framework Plan Released

A landscape of woven relationships, linked by a central spine.

This spring Bennington College has released their new Adaptive Framework Plan, an innovative and creative planning framework to guide change on campus in the years ahead. The framework was adopted late last year alongside the liberal arts college’s new strategic planning work chaired by President Laura Walker. The planning effort was co-led by WXY Architecture + Urban Design and Reed Hilderbrand with Bennington’s Andrew Schlatter, Vice President for Facilities Management and Planning.

“Rather than a singular linear path, the new campus framework acknowledges that multiple futures are possible and creates a flexible planning tool that can adapt and change in response to changing circumstances,” said Schlatter. “The document provides a look at our organizational priorities, the possibilities, and their relationships to each other without locking us into any one set of decisions.”

The 156-page report begins with a comprehensive assessment of the existing campus and how it is used. It goes on to address organizational priorities, including movement, living, landscape, sustainability, learning, and recreation, complete with strengths and weaknesses gathered from students, faculty, staff, and others. A series of strategic recommendations, both large scale and small, short-term solutions as well as long term visions, are presented to be pursued in alignment with the strategic plan and funding availability.

“It’s like a menu of options organized by the priority they address, the funding they require, and other factors,” said President Laura Walker. “This flexible tool allows us to adapt to a range of possible circumstances and ensure that we are leveraging College resources in the most meaningful ways.”

One concept would reroute vehicle traffic around the perimeter of the campus and leave the main academic thoroughfare to pedestrians. Another proposed idea would create a stronger sense of arrival. The northern end of campus is noted as a desirable location for new buildings for academics and housing.

Reed Hilderbrand’s Principal-in-Charge Adrian Nial and Andy Schlatter appear in the following short video describing the framework effort and the campus landscape futures.