By: Ron Schira, Reading Eagle (1.22.17)


“Building Berks: Art in Architecture,” running now through Feb. 19 at the GoggleWorks Cohen Gallery East, is an exhibition of landmark buildings and structures erected within the Berks County borders. Displayed are photos, drawings, drafts and scaled-down models of numerous locations with step-by-step details on architectural process from idea planning to completion.

Curated and arranged by GoggleWorks artist and architect Charles Farrell, along with the Philadelphia design firm of Tom Purdy and Linda O’Gwynn and a committee that included local architect Howard Quaintance, the show presents projects by Carol Clouse RA, Designworks Architects PC, GWWO Inc. Architects, Imageworks, Kautter & Kelley Architects, KMW Architecture, Lou Masciotti Architects, Meister-Cox Architects, Muhlenberg Greene Architects Ltd. and Watkins Architect LTD.At the reception, a slide-show presentation and discussion on procedure was given by Bruce Wood, the director of Kallmann, McKinnell and Wood Architects/KMW Architecture. Currently, he is peer reviewer for the Design Excellence Program of the General Services Administration and a member of the Boston Society of Architects Ethics Committee. Wood spoke of the relationship between client, architect and various contractors with an additional accent on art commissioned for the spaces. Wayne Higby’s huge ceramic-tile piece in the Miller Center was used as a familiar example.Within the main gallery are macquettes of entire neighborhoods, superbly executed drawings and in-depth wall texts describing their phases of production. Such considerations as the predesign, schematic and development phases, as well as the bidding and construction phases, are fully documented next to their corresponding photos.Of course, one would expect that the drawings and plans are concise and metered to exact dimensions from multiple angles, allowing for utilities and civil engineering, while not forgetting the pure elegance of the structure as an artwork in a landscape. The Pagoda, although built early in the last century, is shown from different views and used as another example.A satellite exhibition titled “#GOGGLARC: Student Photographic Exhibition” is showing in the second-floor Schmidt Gallery with photos of local buildings taken by interested students and shown on Instagram. Black-and-white pinhole photographs, basically a makeshift box with film and a flap for a shutter, along with an LED video slide show, also can be seen.Organized by photographic artist Patricia Scialo and Michael Kautter of Kautter and Kelley Architects, the exhibition grew from the desire to include high school students in a visual dialogue about architecture.Intriguing and informative, these dual displays act less as actual art exhibits and more as a teaser for budding architects and designers, regardless of the artistic skill necessary to do the job. It additionally exposes a different approach for the GoggleWorks as an educational venue for applied arts.”Building Berks: Art in Architecture” offers an overview of the entire process in which a number of trained professionals collaborate to build those structures that enhance our lives.