The unique vision of multimedia artist Robert Wilson, the Watermill Center on Long Island is a gallery, a workshop, a performance venue, a residence for creative minds. And home to its founder
Hidden by a dense vegetation of tall trees, an impressive building, incorporating sharp lines and simple materials. Concrete, grey stone and corrugated zinc sheets add shape to square volumes, interrupted by a double row of windows. We are in Water Mill – an area of Southampton, Long Island - a few hours away from New York. Here, Robert Wilson has created a unique project. “My idea was to create a space to host workshops and shared events, a place where young, up- and- coming artists and thinkers from all over the world could find inspiration and try out their ideas”, he tells us. “And I found a large laboratory abandoned 30 years ago, right here on Long Island”. So in 1992, the Watermill Center, fruit of the partnership with Gluckman Mayner Architects, Mark Fiedler of Fiedler Marciano Architecture and a number of architecture and design students, rose out of the ashes of the Western Union study and research centre that once stood on the same site. Today the Center consists of a U- shape main building, and features studios, working areas, artists’ accommodation and Wilson’s private apartment, which also houses his monumental art collection. Work is currently in progress to extend the campus, this time in tandem with the architecture firm of Roger Ferris, and the artists will soon be treated to apartments separated by the central body of the complex: “residences inspired by the structures of the barns built by the first colonies on Long Island”, specifies Wilson.