Sheltered Mica Village Open-Air Lobby is Sweet on American Clay
A few years ago a customer purchased clay for an outdoor lobby entry area for the interesting Mica Village Lofts project in Asheville. I’ve dropped by the Mica Village several times and am pleased to report that the finish continues to perform beautifully. I love what was accomplished with the entire building and the colors of the old factory standing tall against the village condos is an artistic canvas in itself.
This outdoor lobby area is roofed and protected so it doesn’t experience direct water, but as you can see only about ten feet away there can be a torrential downpour of rain or blowing snow and the moisture that circulates throughout the area simply breathes in and out of the finish as moisture is simply a good companion to the time honored clay. The restored iron window frames have no panes and invite the breezes into the space.
Prior to the renovation, the building was in near ruins as the French Broad River flood rampaged through the entire lower area. Condo spaces are now in use at a second level above the flood plain. Parking and the lobby area are at the ground level. The building includes salvaged architectural elements of the original Mica Factory and is an environmental success story. Over 60% of the building materials used in this project were reclaimed from the original Mica Plant.
From time to time I hear from someone that works with other finish materials that express- yes- you can spray with a fire hose. Well, though you can’t spray clay plaster with a fire hose it can be compressed to be a very hard finish. I love the clay because it lives and breathes with the environment, the pigment is integral throughout the product, and can be easily repaired with extra clay from the project. For commercial and high traffic locations, there are additional options including the use of natural binders and clay with additional aggregate. In a setting where there WILL be frequent child’s sticky fingers running along the wall we sealed two restaurant walls approaching a restroom area at our friend’s Artisan Catering Restaurant. We didn’t hesitate to apply clay above my tiled shower walls in two different bathrooms where on a daily basis moisture is it’s friend.
Here’s a moisture demonstration from American Clay if you’d like to see how moisture behaves in a 1×1 foot box that is painted, versus one that has clay.
For more information about American Clay visit our showroom. We offer workshops as well.