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The end and the beginning of Homosote

After a long history, the Homosote building, which is located in the heart of the Penland campus and has recently served as housing for studio assistants, has been scheduled for demolition in February. Despite occasionally being the subject of student and staff jokes, Homosote has served the school well and is a part of many fond memories for the hundreds of students who’ve made it their home during their time at Penland. The recent construction of sleeping cabins and the new housing building has increased our quality of housing and is offsetting the 10 bedrooms that made up Homosote. The site where Homosote currently sits will be allowed to return to a natural setting that will help buffer the gravel parking area behind the building.

"Haunted Homosote," Halloween 2011, Homosote's gleefully ghoulish last hurrah

In order to reduce the amount of demolition debris, the school will invite the local community to reclaim building materials from the site in the weeks before it comes down.

A 1930s photograph of a student at work in the original Homosote building

Penland archivist Michelle Francis says,

“For those who might not know, Homosote was built as an outdoor metal studio in 1938. It was really just one big partially screened room. Construction took three days at a cost of $75. The Metal Shop, as it was known back then, was enclosed and added onto in the 1960s.¬† It was at that time that it became known as Homosote, after the building material used to convert the structure into housing for students.”

Michelle would love to have your Homosote stories for the archives. If you’d like to share one, call her at 828.765.8060 or email archives@penland.org.