Project Description

Millay Colony for the Arts

Austerlitz, New York

The Millay Colony for the Arts commissioned Michael Singer to design new artists’ residences and studios as well as pathways and landscape for their new facilities. The 3,500 square foot building is set within the 600-acre Steepletop Compound, the former home of poet, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and a Historic National Trust site. The main design criterion for the new facility was universal accessibility for artists with and without disabilities. Throughout the design and construction phases, an Artist Advisory Committee reviewed the design to address issues that artists with and without disabilities confront in residential and working environments. There are three artist studios and residences as well as a living-dining room, kitchen and library for all of the Colony’s residents. Fully accessible, multi-textured pathways allow mobility and visually impaired artists to get around the grounds and into wooded areas where outdoor studio sites are located. The project received support from the New York State Council on the Arts, The Andy Warhol Foundation, The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, as well as many private donors. Among the many publications featuring the project were The New York Times, Architectural Record and Interiors.

A book, Beyond Access: A Universal Design Project of the Millay Colony for the Arts, was published by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Artist/Designer: Michael Singer
Singer Studio Design Team: Sterling McMurrin and Karol Kawaky
Millay Colony for the Arts Director: Ann-Ellen Lesser
Architect of Record: Linesync Architecture
Builder: Rob Caldwell
Photography: David Stansbury


Millay Colony for the Arts