Northeast Georgia’s remarkable pottery tradition has many parallels in folk traditions of the southern United States. Potters, blacksmiths, weavers, basket makers, carpenters and others trades were historically involved in producing utilitarian objects and structures, many of superb craftsmanship and transcendental beauty. In this tradition, through a marriage of southern vernacular concepts and contemporary design, the Folk Pottery Museum represents a building form with true meaning for the extraordinary collection housed within. This gable end shed structure is directly connected to the simplicity and functionality of the ware produced by Northeast Georgia potters. The building utilizes a variety of sustainable building products and design techniques. The exhibition area is long and linear and its axis oriented east and west for reduction of solar loads and thus reduction of the size, expense and life cycle costs of air conditioning systems. Similarly the extensive overhangs and awnings of the building shield the interior from direct sun in summer, but allow sun to penetrate in winter to assist in heating. The museum utilizes heavy timbers and wood-products harvested from sustainable forests in the region as well as many other locally or regionally produced products. The site features and courtyard rain garden are designed to infuse runoff from the structures back into natural aquifers. Pottery, unlike many museum objects, is not light sensitive so natural light and views of the surrounding stunningly beautiful Sautee Valley are allowed to anchor the museums’ interior to its surroundings and visually expand virtually every space.
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