The Miami University Art Center now located in Phillips Hall.
Swimming pool becomes center for artistic creationOct 06, 2011
Take one obsolete indoor swimming pool, add architectural vision plus
energy-efficient technology and the end result is one of the newest
renovation projects on Miami University's Oxford campus. The Miami University Art Center celebrated its new location in Phillips Hall with a September ribbon cutting ceremony.
With the construction of the Armstrong Student Center, the former Rowan Art Center needed a new home. The concrete surroundings of the old natatorium in Phillips, which closed in 2000, became the perfect backdrop for a ceramics/pottery studio, a digital photo lab, a woodshop and a metals/jewelry/glass studio. The center also houses its own kiln room (formerly a shower room). Total square footage in the new location is 6,200 in the main level and another 1,600 additional space on the second level, which allows for two large classrooms. An additional 3,100 square feet is in the basement (previously the deep end of the pool). This space houses the mechanical room with heating and air conditioning equipment that serves only the art center.
Connie McCarthy, project architect/manager with Miami’s department of physical facilities, explained that the renovation process relied on existing finishes to help manage the total cost of the project ($1,430,00 or $131 per square feet).
“The light blue-green glazed block walls were perfect for an art center. We didn’t have to do a thing to them. They also set the style and color palette of the remodel, tying the old with the new,” she said.
The large south facing windows in the main studio area are shaded with a series of blue and green acrylic panels that hang from the ceiling. The panels are functional and also add tremendous visual interest to the space, said McCarthy.
The office and second floor classrooms are separated from the studio with glass walls inset with panels of blue and green. Accents of red appear in the new columns that support the second floor and the lockers that line the main studio. Signage from the old pool area, which contain the same shade of red, are being used for table tops or decorative pieces in the art center.
Energy-efficient features include new windows with insulated glass and a state-of-the-art heating and air conditioning system with demand-control ventilation. Also installed is a daylight harvesting system that varies the artificial light level based on the level of natural light and occupancy sensors for lighting.
“I get to work in the coolest-looking space on campus,” said Geoff Eacker, director of the center. “The art center is the perfect place for folks to begin or continue their exploration of the arts.”
The art center offers students, faculty, staff and community members a variety of opportunities to engage in creative activities. The center offers for-credit sprint classes and studios for leisure pursuits. A membership is $35 per academic year.
Rooted in the desire to highlight and celebrate the long history, present dynamism and future plans for the arts, Miami University President David Hodge declaree 2011-2012 as the Year of the Arts.