The Stone Acres Farm Framework is a collaborative interdisciplinary master plan that envisions the union of historic structures and landscape with new uses and activities, creating a distinct communal, agricultural and cultural identity in Stonington, CT. Stone Acres Farm has played a significant role in New England’s agricultural history and heritage since the eighteenth century, and also contains native ecosystems critical to the ecology of the area. The project team was staffed with an architect, landscape architect, farming consultants, civil engineers, ecologists and historians. The mission charge to the team was “preserving, restoring, re-purposing and re-envisioning this historical property with its iconic period architecture and cultural landscapes.” The developed “Framework Plan” provides a phased plan for a 21st century New England farm that operates with complementary food-based entrepreneurial and educational activities, celebrates and reveals the rich history of Stonington, and preserves open space for humans and wildlife.
The architectural program of the Framework focused on proposals for new and re-purposed buildings to serve the farm in four key areas and capacities: Heritage, Working Farm, Artisanal workshops, and the Open Market/Agora. The buildings, which range from a teaching kitchen, community meeting space, to a tap room and an events space to a charcuterie, are all organized along a primary east/west axis of the historic “pentway”, which is the main circulation spine and activity hub of the Farm. The buildings are bookended in the north/south direction by North Main Street at one edge (cultural), which serves as the connection from US Interstate 95 to the Historic Borough of Stonington (1662), and to the lighthouse at Stonington Point on the mouth of Long Island Sound. It is bounded on the other end by an environmental buffer where open, protected, green space traverses from an upland oak forest to scrublands, to grasslands and a red maple swamp. The design proposal is to establish a “Sea to Farm to Community Table” campus for sustainable living, rooted in practices conceived through a deep and abiding commitment to connect community and visitors to its local, natural and human resources.