Crafting Community

Contemporary Craft

To Project Types

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania | 12,000 SF

A community anchor discovers the beauty of its new home.
Rendering of what the space will most likely look like. Spalted maple veneers—produced by allowing felled trees to decay for a period of time, so that fungi can grow, sending dark filaments through the wood to create a marbled pattern—add a layer of care to the reception desk and displays.

For over 30 years, Contemporary Craft has provided free access to high quality arts and creative experiences for all from its space in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. So, when the organization sought to secure its future by purchasing a new home, it was essential that the new building maintain its identity as a friendly, dynamic space, where diverse people can gather. The design, which transforms a modest—previously industrial—concrete box into a showcase for Contemporary Craft’s exhibition, education, and retail programming, reflects the organization’s mission by highlighting the joy that craftspeople uncover in the materials of the building itself.

The addition of a textured brick pattern enriches the façade while layered aluminum tubes and sonar-inspired, patterned panels around the entrance create an animated effect that comes alive as you pass by. With the addition of a rolling, glass garage door and two dramatic storefront openings, we created views into the space to allow passersby to see people at work in its studios and gallery as well as the retail displays of internationally-recognized artists. While the exterior is designed to invite the community in, a beautiful, dark maple reception desk creates a center of gravity to welcome and orient visitors as they search out the studios, gallery, or retail shop.

"...a friendly, dynamic space, where diverse people can gather."