Thousands of ceramic tiles form a jade cube around the university-adjacent building. Their contours certainly deserve the term “wrapper,” seldom do we see a facade that looks so delicate and paper-thin. The designers state of the work:
“The addition’s façade is composed of deep-green, glazed terra cotta tiles that address the client’s requirement of a new monumental entrance. The façade relates to the natural environment of the Museum’s extensive landscape, and its color and chiseled profile are reminiscent of the Cà d’Zan mansion’s ceramic detailing. Machado Silvetti collaborated closely with Boston Valley Terra Cotta to develop the color, form and installation technique for the panels. The over 3,000 tiles provide a high performance, visually striking building envelope that redefines the functionality of the surrounding site by activating the existing courtyard and by addressing circulation and infrastructure needs of the site.”
If the name seems familiar, yes, the building was named after one of the co-founders of the Ringling Bros. circus. John and Mable Ringling used to spend their winters in Sarasota. In addition to being one of the largest museum-university art complexes in the country, it also hosts a theater and a museum of circus memorabilia.
Rodolfo Machado and Jorge Silvetti have been in association since 1974, according to their biography. They formally incorporated Machado and Silvetti Associates in 1985. In 2015 the firm expanded, adding four new partners and updating the office name to Machado Silvetti. The studio has a focus in Art and Teaching Museums, Education and Institutional environments and facilities, Conservation, Cultural Heritage, Re-Use, Urban Design and Planning. They have worked in Berlin, Beirut, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Singapore, Rome, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Malaysia, Vietnam and across the United States.
Do you love or loathe this use of contemporary ceramics in architecture? Let us know in the comments.