IIDA Award Winner: Windhover by Aidlin Darling Design

PROJECT NAME Windhover
LOCATION Stanford
FIRM Aidlin Darling Design
SQ. FT. 4,000 SQF

The soaring flight of kestrels, sometimes referred to as wind­ hovers, provided decades of inspiration to the painter Nathan Oliveira, an art pro­fessor at Stanford University. Years after his death, four of those works have found a new home—not to mention new meaning—at Windhover, a contemplative center built on the California campus by Aidlin Darling Design. A spiritual sanctuary, part gallery and part chapel, this is a place for students and faculty both to view art and to find a retreat from the aca­demic pressure­cooker.


“It was critical to Nathan that the space feel organic, not like a stark white museum,” Joshua Aidlin says. So he and David Darling constructed the single­story pavilion from rammed earth, stained oak, and glass, the latter to allow the oils on canvas to be seen in daylight, by visitors, as well as from outside, by passersby. The 4,000 ­square­ foot interior comprises three rooms punctuated by two ex­terior courtyards, all progress­ing from the entry at one end.


Right outside the entry is a reflecting pool. Critical to the composition, too, are an oak grove and a meditation laby­ rinth in granite. For the pool, Aidlin Darling collaborated with Andrea Cochran Land­scape Architecture—you can see why both firms have won a National Design Award.


Project Team: Roslyn Cole; Kent Chiang; Melinda Turner; Michael Pierry; Jeff Laboskey.

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