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HI-TECH DESIGN INVIGORATES AN ANCIENT ART Program: Iron making and blacksmithing, two of the most popular programs at the Penland School of Crafts, had outgrown their studio. A new state-of-theart facility needed to demonstrate the school’s commitment to the trades and offer plenty of natural light and good ventilation. The space required a flexible design to accommodate future change in the technology and teaching of the two arts, and to promote an open dialogue between teachers and students. Solution: The architect and his team attended an intensive three-day course in iron making in order to better understand the art and to afford the school an opportunity to collaborate on the design of the new studio. A repetitive, rigid-frame structural module was used as a design element for the new, 5,500-square-foot space. Roll-up doors and outdoor teaching areas open the studio to mountainside views. Skylights bring natural light into the space and promote energy conservation. An open plan allows for increased transparency throughout the facility and visual connections between teachers and students. Glass-block walls provide acoustical separation where needed. The new studio increased the school’s public recognition, prompting enrollment to skyrocket 100 percent over previous years, raising the level of expectation for the other departments on campus.

“Designed in a minimal way, the project features state-of-the-art machinery enhancing the craft of blacksmithing.” — PAUL HERZAN

P H OTO G R A P H Y : © J W E S T P R O D U CT I O N S

Project: Iron Studio, Penland School of Crafts, Penland, N.C. [record, October 2002, page 136] Architect: Frank Harmon Architect Client: Penland School of Crafts Key Players: Synergetics (structural); Ernest Myatt (mechanical); Appalachian Building Services (general contractor)


Architectural Record 11.04

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