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Chrysler Museum of Art taps Work Program Architects to explore expansion of its Perry Glass Studio
File photo of Chrysler Museum of Art's Third Thursday art performance. Photo: Echard Wheeler for the Chrysler Museum.


NORFOLK, VA.- The Chrysler Museum of Art has joined forces with Work Program Architects of Norfolk to perform feasibility studies for a possible expansion of the Perry Glass Studio building, Museum Director Erik Neil and WPA Principals Thom White and Mel Price jointly announced today. The Perry Glass Studio, now in its fifth year, has surpassed the Museum’s original expectations for its success, prompting the exploration of creating a larger facility to accommodate its growing educational demands and opportunities for new programs.

“The Perry Glass Studio has met with unprecedented success in its first five years, and as we capitalize on that success, its future looks even brighter,” said Museum Director Erik Neil. “WPA can help the Chrysler consider its options for an enlarged and enhanced facility, but even more, we believe that WPA can help us make a statement about the Perry Glass Studio and its importance to the growth of the arts in Norfolk.”

WPA is a full-service architecture, interior design, and planning studio with offices in the historic Monticello Arcade in Downtown Norfolk. Their expertise includes all scales of architecture, urban design, master planning, and sustainable and resilient design. The award-winning firm is also lauded for its reputation for creative collaboration with its clients, and for LEED certification in energy-efficient “green” building practices.

WPA was founded in 2010 by Thom White (AIA, Principal/Design Architect) and Mel Price (AIA, LEED AP, Principal/Project and Process Manager). The firm and its leaders boast an impressive portfolio that includes design projects across the country, with many of their foremost accomplishments within the Commonwealth. Among these recent successes are the new G.W.C. Brown Memorial Hall at Norfolk State University and a host of urban design interventions that focus on placemaking and a resilient approach to development, K-12 and higher-education facilities, retail spaces, corporate offices, residences, and galleries across Hampton Roads.

The group’s experience with both the Chrysler Museum and Downtown Norfolk and the city’s growing NEON (New Energy of Norfolk) Arts and Design District are especially valuable. Both the Chrysler Museum of Art and its glass studio play a critical role as anchor locations within the NEON District. The Perry Glass Studio was launched in 2011 as an educational complement to the Chrysler’s comprehensive collection of glass. The popular state-of-the-art facility offers classes in the many processes of glassmaking and serves novices and master artists alike. In addition, the Perry Glass Studio has garnered a reputation for innovative uses of glass in the performing arts. These successes and the area’s burgeoning arts scene earned the Chrysler and the City of Norfolk a prestigious honor: selection as co-hosts of the 46th Annual Glass Art Society Conference in June 2017.

Work Program Architects emerged as the Museum’s choice for the expansion research project through a competitive search. Each of the local, regional, and national firms invited to participate is known for its experience with similar expansion projects, according to Museum Trustee Peter Meredith, who heads the Building Committee. He said WPA stood out for their research initiative, aesthetic creativity, community understanding, contracting networks, and professional expertise. The Museum’s Board of Trustees unanimously approved the selection on October 27.

“WPA is thrilled and honored to be selected to explore an expansion of the Perry Glass Studio,” said Thom White, Principal/Design Architect. “We look forward to working with the Chrysler Museum of Art to develop a world-class facility that is a vital and versatile destination for artists and visitors alike to engage deeply with the art of glassmaking.”

“An expansion to the Perry Glass Studio could provide a better and more resilient link to the Museum proper, create more partnerships with the community, showcase all of the glassmaking processes that the Studio has to offer, and provide an even more incredible and fun educational experience for visitors!” Mel Price, WPA’s Principal/Project and Process Manager, said. “We are delighted to work with the Chrysler Museum of Art to consider how to turn these possibilities into reality.”





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