University of Chicago - Logan Center for the Arts Kilnhouse


University of Chicago Logan Center for the Arts Kilnhouse


Chicago, Illinois

In the winter of 2014, the University of Chicago embarked on a first-of-its-kind collaboration between administrators, students, and design professionals to fulfill a need within the Department of Visual Art.  As DOVA sought to expand their pedagogical offerings to include space for kiln-fired ceramics, an idea was born to house three kilns in a small ancillary building located adjacent to the Logan Center's wood shop and sculpture studios.

The Department of Visual Art conducted four installments of a class titled How to House a Kiln co-taught by DOVA faculty and the design architect.   Each class focused on the specifics of the building design process from needs to code requirements to materiality to the specifics of the building structure.  The design of a modified shipping container was finalized in the third installment of the class, and with design in hand, construction documentation was complete for the project in early 2017.  Working together with the design/build general contractor for the project, the students participated in the construction of the building they helped to design in the fall 2017 quarter installment of the class.

This experimental pedagogical approach generated a unique environment for learning, while subtly collapsing the usual strata between administrators, students, and the professional world.  The result was an enriched multi-discipline learning experience for all who contributed, and resulted in a truly unique addition to the Logan Center for the Arts.



University of Chicago


Completed 2018

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Project Data

Area/Budget: 380sf / $230,000

Scope: three ceramic kilns for the Department of Visual Art

Project Team: Andy Tinucci, Nathan Bowman (project architect), Chris Cordell

dbHMS Engineers (m/e); WoodtinBuild (general contractor)

Photographers: Mike Schwartz, Nathan Bowman