The Mansfield Art Center, located in Mansfield, Ohio, is an important fixture in the community. It operates under the mission to “enrich the lives of all children, families, and adults through the arts with gallery exhibitions, art education, artist workshops and related activities.” The Mansfield Art Center realized a need for an addition to accommodate an expanding demand for the arts and cultural development of the area.
Perspectus Architecture is serving as the design architect for the project. Director of Design David Thompson worked with local Mansfield architecture firm, The Seckle Group, to design a new education wing addition to the Mansfield Art Center. The new space expands the art center’s ability to offer more hands-on classes to the community, including a specialized “hot zone” with a ceramics and glass blowing studio.
The new addition seeks to respect and enhance the existing gallery and education structure designed by the late Don M. Hisaka, built in 1970. A resident of Cleveland, Ohio for a portion of his career, Hisaka’s contemporary work earned over 50 awards of merit. The Mansfield Art Center was honored with the Progressive Architecture National Citation in 1971.
The simple, rectilinear forms from the existing building extend to the new structures. The two new forms flanking the existing building defer to the existing structure and visually frame the existing gallery space. The siting of the new additions preserves the original entry sequence and enhances the exterior pavilion space to accommodate more diverse functions. The new structures take cues from the existing building’s massing, openness, exposed structure, and utilization of daylight. By maintaining and bounding the existing green space, the additions preserve views from the gallery spaces.
Gray porcelain cladding contrasts the white paint of the existing structure while also abstractly referencing the ceramics studio within the new structure.
The new ceramic and glass arts studio serves as an expansion of the existing education studios, extending the existing circulation axis and re-imagining how the spaces can be flexible and adaptable.
Originally proposed as an ‘open warehouse’ space, the studio construction details are intended to be a reinterpretation of the existing gallery and education construction. The new classroom space is subdivided by mobile modular storage units that facilitate easy reconfiguration, promoting an adaptable, scalable learning environment. Storage space in a new lower level helps consolidate storage currently spread throughout the existing building, freeing up congested areas for their original intent.
While the primary windows for the studio space capitalize on northern light, the south elevation incorporates louvers and deep recesses to diffuse and control direct sunlight entering the classroom space.
Adjacent to kilns and ovens, floor-to-ceiling glass seeks to put the process of making art on display. Perimeter wall space is maintained within the studios to allow for adequate on-hand storage of supplies.
Construction is anticipated to begin in June 2019.