North Carolina Pottery Center
Seagrove, North Carolina
Frank Harmon, Quan Banh with Judy Harmon, Landscape Architect
The NC Pottery Center’s mission is “to promote public awareness and appreciation of the history, heritage, and ongoing tradition of pottery-making in North Carolina through education programs, public services, collection and preservation, and research and documentation.” In 1996, the directors asked us to design permanent facilities for pottery education, for displaying its collection of pottery and related artifacts, and for welcoming visitors to the center. They wanted simple, well-lit buildings reminiscent of family potteries in the region.
At the center of the site was a grove of 100-year-old oak trees. We designed the buildings around the grove not only to protect the trees, but also to allow visitors to move outside into their welcoming shade during summer months. Aesthetically, we saw the buildings as part church, part barn, celebrating the folk art of the state. To that end, we used forms and materials that a farmer would understand, weaving both into a simple yet sophisticated whole. The main building includes a two-story gallery and a meeting room where visitors or area potters conduct demonstrations. A monitor roof allows an abundance of natural light to spill into the space. The education building features both indoor and covered outdoor spaces for throwing pots.
1999 Architectural Record Magazine Small Museums Recognition
1999 AIA NC Honor Award
2000 AIA Triangle Honor Award