Andrew Metter: “Keeping in mind the adage that the greenest building is the one that’s already there, we repurposed two of three existing structures and added 4,000 square feet of event space.
Andrew Metter is a principal design architect at Epstein | Metter Studio in Chicago. Photo: Samantha Simmons
“How to distribute the program quickly became self-evident. It was a natural choice for the art gallery to be in the front of the mid-20th-century brick building. We incorporated generous windows into the façade, allowing natural light to flood the gallery and showcase the glassworks on display.
Ignite’s three buildings house offices, artist studios, an art gallery, a hot shop, and event space used for private events. A glass garden wall is oriented to the north to reduce solar heat gain.
“On the other hand, the hot shop—where glass production takes place—was built inside an existing steel-framed structure. You don’t want natural light in the glassblowing areas at all. It changes perception of the glass’s character and color.”
An enclosed sculpture garden now occupies what had been a loading dock and parking lot. The garden’s elevation was raised using demolition remains from the project.
Operable glass doors allow the studio’s hot shop to be naturally ventilated through the event space. Similarly, the event space is designed to be warmed by waste heat from the glassblowers’ furnaces.
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Natural Resources Defense Council Midwest
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