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Frick Art & Historical Center announces multi-phase building and renovation project
Frick Orientation Center view from South Homewood Ave Architectural Rendering.

PITTSBURGH, PA.- The Frick Art & Historical Center’s Board of Trustees announces a $15 million expansion and renovation project that will begin with a groundbreaking ceremony for a new Orientation Center on Thursday, June 6, 2013 at 11:30 AM.

The Frick is anchored by The Frick Art Museum and Clayton, the Point Breeze home of industrialist Henry Clay Frick and his family and the legacy of Mr. Frick's daughter, philanthropist Helen Clay Frick. As the 25th anniversary of Clayton’s opening to the public approaches, a multi-phase renovation project has been developed to unite the Frick's various components and maximize its potential to educate, enlighten and serve its diverse audiences. In addition to the Orientation Center, the project will create a new Education Center, expand and improve the Frick's collection storage facilities and provide additional space for community events. The project will allow the Frick to expand its cultural offerings and foster the Frick’s role as an anchor for and magnet to its neighboring communities in the East End.

Frick Board of Trustees Chairman Dave Brownlee stated, "This project is a landmark moment in the history of the Frick Art & Historical Center. Once completed, the expanded facilities will enhance the Frick’s ability to tell Pittsburgh’s story."

Frick Director Bill Bodine adds, "Education is central to our mission. This project will allow us to improve and expand educational programs that currently serve more than 14,000 individuals of all ages every year."

The project consists of three interrelated elements. The first phase, construction of an Orientation Center, incorporates educational technology that will enable visitors to learn about the Frick family and life in Pittsburgh at the end of the 19th century. The Center will also include a new Museum Shop, thus enabling the restoration of the Frick family Children’s Playhouse (where the Museum Shop is now located) as a site for children’s exhibitions and programs. The Orientation Center, along with an adjacent newly landscaped courtyard, is expected to be completed by early summer 2014.

The second phase calls for a new Education Center that will be housed in a renovated facility (the current Carriage Gallery of the Car and Carriage Museum). In addition, a new Carriage Gallery—constructed behind and integrated with the existing Car Gallery—will allow the Frick to better exhibit its important collection of Frick family carriages. This facility will also include climate-controlled, secure and readily accessible storage for the Frick’s varied collections.

In the third phase of the project, the Frick will construct a new Community Center that will provide additional education and program space and create a venue for rental events.

When completed, this plan will join together the multiple components of the Frick, support the enhancement and expansion of its educational offerings and enrich the experience of more than 125,000 annual visitors.

The Frick has engaged an architectural team of Schwartz/Silver and Associates (Boston) and Loysen + Kreuthmeier (Pittsburgh) to design the new buildings and renovated spaces.

Schwartz/Silver has particular experience in successfully integrating multi-facility museum campuses while Loysen + Kreuthmeier is known for environmentally sensitive work in the Pittsburgh area. The architectural team has been working under the direction of Frick staff and an actively-engaged Building and Grounds Committee, chaired by Trustee Joel R. Bernard, a principal of IKM, Inc. (Pittsburgh).

The Orientation Center, a 3,000 square-foot building, will be located in the center of the Frick’s 5.5 acre campus, between the Car and Carriage Museum and The Café at the Frick. Façades composed of low-iron, high-transparency glass and Pennsylvania sandstone have been designed to integrate the new building into the existing landscape. Inside, a wood ceiling will be suspended by glass walls at a height between 12–18 feet, opening up views of the Frick grounds and helping orient visitors to the site. A 30-foot-long skylight, on axis with the entrance, will provide additional natural lighting for the Center. A porcelain tile floor will be laid in a herringbone pattern, recalling decorative elements at Clayton.

To enhance the Frick's environmental sustainability, all project phases will adhere to LEED standards. The glass design of the Orientation Center provides a visual connection to the Frick’s park-like setting, and enhances the “green” character of the facility through the use of natural daylight. An exterior sun louver system will reduce heat-gain and energy consumption required for cooling. Building materials will be selected based on recycled and Low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) content and, where possible, will be harvested and manufactured within 500 miles of Pittsburgh. A construction management plan will minimize construction waste and emphasize a high standard of indoor air quality both during construction and after the building is occupied.

Careful consideration has been given to landscaping, including native species plantings and water treatment. A new courtyard, adjacent to the Orientation Center, will turn an existing asphalt plaza into usable green space, featuring autumn flowering cherry trees and a grassy area. The courtyard will provide supplemental outdoor space for education programs and serve as a gathering area for school groups and visitors.

Design of the next phases of the project—including the Education Center, Carriage Gallery, collections storage area and Community Center—will proceed concurrently with construction of the Orientation Center.

The Frick’s renovation project is the result of an extensive needs assessment and site planning studies that identified critical priorities and opportunities:

1) Expansion and improvement of educational facilities that enhance the visitors’ experiences;

2) Creation of a focal point for arriving visitors that provides an orientation to the Frick and its diverse collections; and

3) Addition of secure, climate-controlled, on-site storage that ensures all collections are protected and available for generations to come.

The Orientation Center will include state-of-the-art educational technologies developed by the award-winning Seattle-based design firm, Belle & Wissell, including interactive display panels, a touch table and computer tablets for individual use. These new educational tools will illuminate such topics as Henry Clay Frick’s life as family man, entrepreneur, collector, and philanthropist; daily life at Clayton, including that of the domestic staff; the entrepreneurial age of Pittsburgh, including Frick contemporaries Judge Thomas Mellon, Henry J. Heinz, George Westinghouse, Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Mellon; the early history of the coal, coke and steel industries in western Pennsylvania; the Pittsburgh community’s historic engagement with collecting and the arts; and related topics. In addition, re-locating the Museum Shop to the new Orientation Center will allow the Frick family Children’s Playhouse to house additional children’s and family programs.

A major fundraising Campaign, chaired by Frick Trustee Charles R. (“Chip”) Burke, Jr., has been initiated to raise $15 million to fund the entire project. Although that Campaign is at its earliest stages, to date more than $6.5 million has been raised or pledged. Initially, the Burke Foundations provided a generous $1 million challenge grant to the Frick Board of Trustees. This gift was more than matched by gifts from every member of the Frick Board. The Trustee match has been supplemented by commitments from all members of the Frick staff. The Grable Foundation also provided a substantial leadership gift of $1 million to help launch the campaign.

A $3,000,000 grant from the Richard King Mellon Foundation has provided the largest gift to date for the Frick’s Campaign. The gift provides a direct grant of $2,500,000, with an additional dollar for dollar challenge grant to individual donors to the Campaign up to an additional $500,000. Chip Burke praised the Mellon Foundation gift. “This gift is essential to the completion of this project. It will significantly help the Frick to engage the support of the greater community.” Other early and generous commitments have been received from the Colcom Foundation and The Fisher Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation.

As the Campaign now moves toward a public phase, a broad community-wide phase of the Campaign is being chaired by Frick Trustee Carolyn B. (“Cary”) Reed.

All collections and buildings, including The Café at the Frick, will be open to visitors during construction of the Orientation Center. All programs and events, including the summertime concert series First Fridays at the Frick, will continue as regularly scheduled.

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