Historic Pewabic Pottery on East Jefferson held a ceremony today to officially unveil its first physical expansion since 1912. The Maxine and Stuart Frankel Pewabic Tile Studio adds necessary production space for the ceramics-maker, and adds a fresh, contemporary look to the historic site.
Designed by inFORM Studio and built by Sachse Construction, the $1.1 million addition beautifully highlights how to add on to historic architecture. Todd Sachse told Curbed that the 2,500-square-foot addition shows how to blend function and form; inside, the space is open and concrete—an ideal workspace for the makers. Outside is all about form; gaps in white bricks bring in light, while iridescent tiles show off the historic pottery.
Pewabic tiles can be seen in many historic and modern Detroit buildings, and executive director Steve McBride noted many large projects recently—Little Caesars Arena, the Qline stations, Shinola Hotel, and the Plymouth District Library—that necessitated a move to increasing capacity and efficiency for the organization.
In the design, McBride said that in adding on to the historic site, they didn’t want to recreate the past, but look forward. “The increased production capacity made possible by this expansion will position Pewabic to play an even greater role in Detroit’s development efforts,” adds McBride. “The architects from inFORM Studio did a wonderful job linking the past and present, designing a contemporary new studio that complements Pewabic’s National Historic Landmark pottery building.”
They did remove some blighted structures to construct the addition. McBride mentioned that this is just the start of a longer-term campus expansion and planning process that could include a new education studio, cafe, and garden.
The new studio was funded in large part from the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation for Art, the Michigan Council for Arts and Affairs, the Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation, and the William Davidson Foundation.
Pewabic was founded in 1903 by Mary Chase Perry and Horace Caulkins. The building at 10125 East Jefferson is a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public for shopping and tours.