Sustainable Communal Pottery Studio in Pasadena, California
Project Statement –
In my community, there is an abundance of underfunded art programs within schools. They either do not have the ability to utilize materials or do not have the ability to explore multiple artistic ventures. I am proposing a sustainable community pottery studio in the city center. It will utilize solar panels for clean energy and fully biodegradable materials in the building structure. Furthermore, pottery can bridge the divide between people with different ideologies, serve as a form of relaxation and meditation, and generate a useful skill that you can use forever. Allowing all persons in my community to have access to this space, particularly students from underfunded schools, will allow all to experience the beauty and joy of creating art and will elevate my community for the better.
|USERS: The name of my project “Community Pottery Studio,” defines its purpose: to bring the community together with one common goal, which is to allow anyone and everyone, regardless of age, skill level, or socioeconomic status, to experience the joy of creating pottery. In my community, many schools lack the resources to have a fully equipped pottery studio; the arts are among the first programs on the chopping block. As a result, ceramic classes remain out of reach for many lower, middle, and high school students. I envision my Community Pottery Studio to be a place where students, either on their own after school or as part of school field trips, can take advantage of the potter’s wheels, hand-building tools, glazes, and kilns that they would not otherwise be able to use. Young students are not the only ones who would benefit from this space. Senior citizens, again either on their own or as part of organized field trips from their assisted living homes, could come to the studio and do simple hand-building projects that do not require the dexterity or strength of the potter’s wheel. Creating art is a well-known therapy that aids the mental health and happiness of both young and old, and this studio will allow all members of my community to gather and experience, as a collective community, all of the benefits and joy that creating pottery brings. Pottery is the ultimate form of relaxation and meditation and, as described below, the setting I propose allows users to be creative in a uniquely harmonious and natural setting, in the middle of a giant park.|
|NEEDS: This studio must provide a welcoming and visually appealing space where community members can learn how to make pottery, both thrown and handbuilt, in a positive learning environment that promotes sustainability and provides adequate tools and equipment. To do this, I propose that my studio include open space with minimal barriers, 10-15 pottery wheels, glazing rooms, two gas kilns, a working area where people can either build pottery by hand or glaze their pieces, and space where users are welcome to display their work, and maybe even advertise them for sale (on a rotating basis to ensure equal access and fairness for all artists). The studio will be all on one floor in order to maximize human interaction and will be predominantly made of glass and steel so the outside community can view the students at work inside and share in the collective joy of creating beautiful art.|
|INSIGHTS: Because this will be a workspace with a lot of clay dust, clay scraps, and glaze drippings, there will need to be drains and special ventilation systems put in place. Also, the flooring will have to be concrete, which can be easily mopped to remove the clay dust, clay scraps, and glaze spillages. Because of the clay dust that naturally occurs in a pottery studio, and the heat and inherent danger of a kiln (which heats to up to 2381 degrees F), the kiln room will be in a separate area, walled off from the main workspace. In keeping with the project’s goal to have as little a carbon footprint as possible, using as many biodegradable pieces as possible, the studio walls will be made out of 3D printed clay; these walls, however, must be covered with a protective coat of moisture-resistant paint for easy cleaning. In addition, I propose using both indoor/outdoor spaces for the studio. Minimizing barriers and using open space as part of the studio will have a two-fold effect: it will allow the studio to have multiple pottery wheels (for throwing) and will create an airy design effect that is both visually and environmentally appealing. The perfect place for this building is in Central Park in Old Town Pasadena. For the structure of the building, I initially thought of making it look like one of my pottery pieces, like a vase. However, that very much limited the amount of usable space in the studio. From there, my design evolved into using pottery formations and shapes (the rounded edge of a bowl, or the rim of a pitcher, for example) rather than one set form. However, after experimenting with these ideas, I decided to design the studio so that it replicates a pottery wheel. The symbolism of this is that, just as an artist uses the pottery wheel to create art, so will my community of artists use the studio, like a pottery wheel, to make their own art.|
Case Studies –
This studio creates a greater connection between the people participating in wheel throwing. It also creates an organized pathway throughout the studio.
Department of Art at New Paltz University
What I like about this space is that it is separated from the wheel-throwing space. I like how instead of walls as barriers, which creates isolated workspaces, they use shelving to create distinct workspaces.
Steve Jobs Theater
This is the Steve Jobs Theater in the Apple headquarters in San Francisco. It uses glass panels to create a complete natural light space. It also allows for outside nature and the people within to join together, in the interior of the structure.
Site Analysis –
This is a local park in the city center of my community. It has lawn bowling facilities and great open grass space for people to play on. It also has a playground.
After viewing my images and the Google satellite rendering, I noticed that I could extend the studio and remove the pathway between the two fields, giving me more than enough space for the pottery studio.
Bubble Diagram –
The bubble diagram above is my first idea of how I wanted the pottery studio to look. I wanted all the rooms to be revolving around the center wheel throwing room. I also added a display room, patio, glaze room, kiln room, and office space.
Schematic Design and Floor Plan –
This is my floor plan. I included a display room for people passing by to view the work being produced in this studio. I also utilized windows in the main wheel throwing room for natural light to flow within, minimizing my use of electricity. I also put the kiln away from the main structure because it gets very hot, and requires space around it to operate safely.
Initial Pottery Studio Design –
These were my first two initial designs for my pottery studio. However, I did not like them because they were very box-shaped and did not capture the essence of modern and sustainable architecture. From these designs, I decided to go a different route, learning from my past mistakes, and create a studio based on a potter’s wheel.
This is a pottery wheel. I designed my final pottery studio design off of this.
Final Pottery Studio Design –
From the front perspective of the pottery studio, the display room is on the left. Using a lottery or some other democratic system, the studio could offer students the opportunity to display and perhaps even sell their finished products. On the right will be an office space for art teachers to take breaks, and for staff to perform any administrative tasks. There will be no need for restrooms because there are restrooms elsewhere in the park. The main pottery workspace structure is made of completely recycled glass and recyclable steel supporting the glass room. The roof has different triangular elevation perspectives to give it a geometric look. On the back of the studio are sliding doors that can be opened during work time to increase airflow, and surround and envelop the artists with nature outside. The premise of this design is based on a pottery wheel. The glass wheel throwing room is the wheel head where the wheel spins, and the office and display area is the workbench.
Overall, I hope from viewing my project you can gain some insight into the wonders that art can bring to a community. This pottery studio is my attempt to create and strengthen my community, one lump of clay at a time. Pottery studios like these are where people go to share their love of art, learn about art, and perhaps even learn about and from each other. The first step to bring people together is a step-through art, and a beautiful thing called pottery. Finally, in addition to achieving sustainability goals through specific design elements, such as using recyclable materials for the glass dome and 3D-print outs in clay for the walls, the studio also minimizes its carbon footprint because the water to be used in the sinks will be nonpotable gray water, clay sediment that is washed off in the sink will be captured with mud traps under the sink, and any clay that is discarded (for example, while trimming pieces) can be recycled for re-use through the use of pugmills. Ultimately, pottery is the perfect expression of sustainability because it is created through the very elements of nature: clay, water, and fire.
Do you see a need for this type of community work space, particularly given the lack of funding for the arts?
What could I do to make this pottery studio financially viable and self-sustaining, while ensuring access for everyone?
What do you think are the benefits of learning art such as pottery?