2nd Place, Adaptive Reuse
For more than 30 years, Contemporary Craft has provided free access to high-quality arts and creative experiences for all. When the organization sought to secure its future by purchasing a new home, it was essential that the building meet the client’s budget while reinforcing its identity as a friendly, dynamic space, where diverse people can gather.
An old concrete masonry building—one that was not designed with human comfort or community in mind—might not seem like a good candidate to meet these needs. But the GBBN design team and the craft-oriented client saw the potential to transform a modest, previously industrial concrete box in Pittsburgh into a showcase for Contemporary Craft’s programming while reflecting the organization’s mission by highlighting the joy that craftspeople uncover via the materials of the building itself.
PHOTOS: ED MASSERY PHOTOGRAPHY; BEFORE PHOTOS: GBBN
OPENING UP, WELCOMING COMMUNITY
The renovation takes a nondescript building, which was previously closed in on itself, and opens it up to the community. The addition of a rolling glass garage door and two dramatic, punched storefront openings creates views into the building, allowing passersby to glimpse the activity within its studios, gallery and retail space.
Beyond views to the inside, the exterior itself is enriched. The addition of a textured brick pattern enhances the façade while layered aluminum tubes and sonar-inspired, patterned panels around the entrance create an animated effect that comes alive as people pass by.
FUNCTIONAL AND INVITING
The exterior is designed to invite the community in, and a beautiful, custom-crafted reception desk creates a center of gravity to welcome and orient visitors. What was once a dark, industrial space is now an open and airy floorplan, where visitors easily move between the gallery and retail shop. For functional reasons, the studios are separated by walls.
Behind the reception desk, a new clerestory structure brings light and introduces a view to the sky overhead while a striking steel stairway provides access to Contemporary Craft’s second-floor office space.
EXPRESSION OF CRAFT
From the spalted maple—whose dark-veined, marble patterns are created by fungus when the tree is allowed to decay in the forest—reception desk and displays to the textured brick façade, the whole building expresses the value of craft. By transforming a humdrum building—the kind that dots the landscapes of our cities—Contemporary Craft’s new space manifests the transformative power of craft while welcoming its community, new and old, into its new space.
METAMORPHOSIS AWARD WINNER and ARCHITECT: GBBN
- Mick McNutt, AIA
- Anne Chen, AIA, LEED AP
- Melanie Ngami
GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Jendoco Construction Corp.
METAL FABRICATION: Gray Welding & Fabrication Services
WINDOW RESTORATION AND REPAIR: Southwest Aluminum & Glass Co., (412) 257-9500
STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: WBCM
MEP ENGINEER: WNA Engineering
ENERGY MODELING: 3R Building Sustainability
CURTAINWALL AND STOREFRONT: Kawneer
METAL SIDING: ATAS International
CUSTOM SPALTED MAPLE VENEER: Deep Greene Woodworks
DOORS: Doors Unhinged
FURNITURE: Kelly Custom Furniture & Cabinetry