Firm Description. The buildings of Turner Brooks Architect are known for their successful response to different site conditions, programs, and budgets. The emphasis is on innovative design, ecological, and economically sound solutions.
The work has been widely featured in both books and architectural journals here and abroad. In 1995 Princeton Architectural Press published the monograph: Turner Brooks: Work. Several houses have been published in Architectural Record magazine’s annual “Record Houses issue. This year a project was published in The Future of Architecture 100 Buildings. Many of the institutional projects, including the Gilder Boathouse for Yale University, were won in invited architectural competitions. Turner has lectured on his work throughout the United States and abroad.
The firm was founded in Starksboro, Vermont in 1972. In its early stages Turner worked in association with a group of master carpenters doing ‘design-build’ to produce a series of small affordable residences. The early work also included several small institutional projects for local communities including a boarding school campus and public elementary school additions. In 1984 Turner was awarded the Mid-Career Rome Prize (see ‘Other Projects / Il Risiorgimento’ on this website).
As work gained in volume, the office expanded and moved to Burlington, Vermont in 1985. In 1989 Turner became professor (adjunct) at the Yale School of Architecture. The office moved to New Haven, Connecticut in 1996 where the firm soon won the competition for an archive and library in Stonington, Connecticut and the competition for the Yale Boathouse on the Housatonic River in Derby, Connecticut. In the spring of 2015, Turner was awarded the Sidonie Mishkimin Clauss ’75 Prize for Teaching in the Humanities.
Recent work includes: a new campus of housing and classrooms at an institution for the treatment of children afflicted by autism spectrum disorder, and a small museum and archive at the Yale Medical School exhibiting the work and collections of the pioneering brain surgeon, Dr. Harvey Cushing; a house for two geologists in East Branch, New York; and a community room for all school events including sports and performance for the Cold Spring School, in New Haven, Connecticut.
Current work includes: a feasiblity study for major renovations and additions to the Brown University Boathouse, a new center for the arts at the Burgundy Farm Country Day School in Alexandria, Virginia; and a house for a family ‘clan’ on Lake Placid, New York.
Approach and Process. With each new project we come prepared to listen to the client with an attitude of discovering the possibilities that are offered by the program and site. More often than not it is the friction between program and site that makes a design begin to ‘percolate’ and take form. The realities of budget and time almost always enter in as ‘referees’ to this process.
In the initial stages of a design project we explore several different design alternatives with the client. We believe this is the best way to develop the most appropriate response to a given program. In the design process we generate a series of physical models to clearly communicate both inside space and exterior form.
We take pride in our thorough construction drawings and specifications as well as in the careful management and supervision of the construction process. Through careful siting, selection of appropriate and sustainable materials and systems, our buildings strive to tread lightly on the planet.
Each member of the firm brings a wide variety of experience and expertise. Our long-established relationships with outside consultants provide our clients with a complete range of related services to complement our own design capabilities. The firm’s ‘hands-on’ origins gives it a particularly good understanding of the ‘reality’ of construction and its costs.