Center for Asian Art clad in 3000 dazzling jade-green terracotta panels

Designed by US-based architectural firm Machado Silvetti, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art is home to the Center for Asian Art. Based in Sarasota, Florida, the building is clad in jade-coloured terracotta panels which pay homage to the precious stone’s prominent history in Asian design whilst mirroring the vibrant-green shrubbery surrounding the Museum. 

The Building's terracotta facade is specially crafted by Boston Valley Terra Cotta — an architectural ceramic manufacturer based in New York. Founded by the Krouse family in 1981, Boston Valley has become a leading manufacturer of terracotta in the construction and design industries. 

Terracotta derives from the Italian word ‘baked earth’ and has been used in architecture and design for thousands of years. The material can be used in environments with severe climates and has UV resistance. A recent study done by Alfred University professor Dr William Carty in collaboration with Boston Valley for ACAW, found that terracotta had low embodied energy in comparison to other building materials, including steel, glass and plastic.

Terracotta usage contributes to sustainable architectural practice and Boston Valley panels can last hundreds of years with little-to-no maintenance. Boston Valley also sources its terracotta within 500 miles of their factory, and all excess materials are ground down and added back into the grog (raw clay-based material). 

The Center for Asian Art is equipped with 2800 glazed panels (each 70 pounds in weight) which are installed on aluminium clips and tracks. The rectangular panels are fabricated by a ram-press process that involves a combination of hand-crafted processes and mechanical production, and the panels are glazed in an iridescent custom glaze specifically formulated for the project. 

The striking colour and texture of the Boston Valley panels create a high-performance and visually striking building skin. The panels remain unaffected by the sun and changing weather of the area, and the incorporation of a rainscreen system (with breathability features) protects the structure from mould and enhances its longevity. 

To learn more about the project, visit Boston Valley Terra Cotta's website

All image credits: Anton Grassl

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