Friday, July 23, 2010

Arts Centre heritage building

The North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre operates from a heritage school in Calgary's northwest, which was built in 1913 as a four room country school, serving the surrounding farming and ranching community. The school was built to be a temporary structure of modest and rigorously symmetrical "bungalow" design. It is wood-framed and clad in cedar with large sash windows facing north and south to capture abundant sunlight. The studio rooms (previously classrooms) are warm and cheery because of the enormous windows.

A purpose-built ceramics wing was added in 1994/95, designed by Calgary's pre-eminent heritage Architect Lorne Simpson. The new wing contains a large and bright studio/classroom, the members ceramics studio and damp room, a bisque kiln area containing five electric bisque kilns, clay storage, a glaze "kitchen" and glaze mixing lab. Attached to the new wing is an outside fenced courtyard containing an iconic round gas kiln shed, a raku kiln area, salt and wood-fired brick kilns.

We are currently working with Calgary's Heritage Planning department to give the historic building official municipal heritage building status, which will protect the exterior architecture in perpetuity. This will happen before 2013, the building's centennial year.

This coming Monday July 26, at 2:00 pm the North Mount Pleasant Arts Centre / Mount Pleasant bungalow school will be toured as part of Historic Calgary week 2010 "A Walk Through Time". The tour will be led by David Peyto of the Chinook Country Historical Society, and Mr. Lorne Simpson, Architect will also be in attendance, along with former students and the daughter of a former school principal, who will share their stories and observations about the school and its importance as a community centre for the past 97 years.

Come to the Arts Centre for a visit or to take a class - and stay for life!

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