As part of his encyclopedic collection of American industry and ingenuity, Henry Ford transported this machine shop from New England to this site within the Liberty Craftworks at Greenfield Village. JCDA’s renewal both preserves and transforms the building into a glass gallery. The addition of a new entry vestibule is rotated to face the hot shop, articulating visitor circulation.
Dramatically announcing the gallery’s threshold and embodying the recently expanded collection’s combination of art glass and industrial glass, the vestibule’s large glass castings merge aesthetics and performance. The custom structural glass of this crystalline enclosure simultaneously references the building’s masonry structure and 19th century optical glass found in urban contexts, such as Luxfer sidewalk prisms and glass roof tiles such as the ones at Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Glass House, which can be seen at the museum’s Greenfield Village.
The gallery interior layers monochromatic wall and ceiling treatments over the existing structure, transforming the gallery space is into a muted jewel box. At the back of the building, a new punched opening brings in daylight to help naturally illuminate the glassworks on display while framing access to the outdoor event space. The simple expression of the space and its structure highlights the color and brilliance of the glass collection.
The gallery’s blend of art, science, and technological innovation embraces the notion of glass as a medium for creative expression allied with the technical developments of industrial production. Quinn Evans Architects, a firm experienced with historic preservation both locally and nationally, was the architect of record.