John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Center for Asian Art, terraclad, glaze

Interview: Rodolfo Machado & Working With Boston Valley Terra Cotta on Ringling Museum of Art

TITLE: Center for Asian Art at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
SOURCE: Architect Magazine
DATE: June 20, 2016

BY: Nate Berg
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Ringling Museum, Machado Silvetti, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Sarasota, Florida

Photo Credit ©Anton Grassl/Esto

Q: What drove the design of the pavilion’s tiled façade?

Rodolfo Machado: Materially, we chose terra-cotta because the structure is a piece in a garden, and the garden pavilion has always been a light green terra-cotta with golden edges. But the material is also in the traditional buildings on the Ringling campus, like the John and Mable Ringling House—it is on the floors and inlaid in the walls.

For the tiles on our pavilion, we worked with an excellent factory, Boston Valley Terra Cotta outside of Buffalo, N.Y., and the size of the tiles was determined by the fabrication process. There are three sizes, small ones, little bit larger ones, and then the corners, which are different. The tiles’ geometry makes the building contemporary but also seductive and soft.

The color was chosen because of the green tile in Chinese architecture and gardens, and the green jade sculptures that are part of the collection. But it was also influenced by the vegetation—the exuberant big, thick leaves of Floridian gardens. Some may also see other things, like the leaves of an artichoke. That’s fine. Actually, I love that, because when a building is rich and original, people read it differently, which is good.

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