A place for writers and appreciators of the written word will open its doors – virtually – Oct. 9.
Write On, Door County will host a Facebook Live virtual grand opening for its new Writing Center in Juddville on Oct. 9, 6-7 pm. The event will feature a virtual tour of the new center, readings and a performance by local musician Katie Dahl.
The completion of the Writing Center fulfills the first step in a vision formulated seven years ago, when the founders of Write On embarked on creating a home to celebrate writing on the Door County peninsula.
For eight years, Write On, Door County has operated out of offices in its writers’ residency space across the street from the center, collaborating with dozens of other schools, nonprofits and venues to offer programming to residents and visitors of all ages. For the first time, the nonprofit will be able to claim a home of its own for programming, classes, events and the public.
“We envision this as a place where a book club could hold a gathering, aspiring authors can find inspiration, and where people will find a place to explore their creativity,” said Managing Director Lauren Ward.
Erik Hancock of Kubala Washatko Architects said the project was unique in every way.
“Here we had this very special opportunity with a client who helped us understand what writers want and need from their spaces,” Hancock said. “The beauty of this natural site is really a special landscape, and the building is very outward facing to kind of embrace those qualities. We wanted the building to feel as though it very much was rooted in Door County in both its history and its culture and environment.”
The overarching pattern the firm created was based on the idea of an invitation to write, Hancock said.
“It’s not to be a neutral setting for the act of writing, but the invitation would be built into the bones of every aspect of the building,” he explained. “The design of a windowsill, the selection of a chair, the shape of the building.”
Hancock researched the spaces of numerous writers and found a wide variety of settings that inspired them. That was built into the design, with spaces amidst hustle and bustle, isolated nooks and hybrid areas for those struck by a thought.
He worked with landscape architects Nancy Aten and Dan Collins, as well as contractor Carlson Erickson Builders to help meld indoor and outdoor spaces. Materials were purposefully selected to break down the boundaries between them, such as the warmth of the color palette, wood that’s part of the interior and exterior that passes through the walls in some areas, and interior floors that blend with the stone that’s part of the paving.
“There are no abrupt changes from inside to outside,” Hancock said. “Importantly, there’s not much in the way of a back side to this building. We want it to be seen and approached from almost any angle. We wanted to avoid the phenomenon of a back side or an ugly side of the building.”
In-person, small-group tours of the building and grounds will be offered Oct. 10-24. To learn more about the building, residencies, classes and memberships, visit writeondoorcounty.org. Also read more about Write On, Door County and the new Writing Center in the special insert that’s included in the Hal Prize section of this edition of the Peninsula Pulse.