The Kiln Shelter Project

The Kiln Shelter Project


The Kiln Shelter is an addition to our existing building that will be reviewed by Pittsburgh’s zoning board. Our zoning documents are posted for public viewing and the Kiln Shelter Project hearing will take place on January 12, 2017 at the John P. Robin Civic Building at 10:30am.

We want to give everyone who is a member, staff, tenant, or associated with Union Project notice in advance before posting these documents. We hope after having 3 to 4 months of zoning period, we can break ground in Spring 2017 for Phase I of the Kiln Shelter Project and have the kiln structure built by the end of 2017. If anyone has any questions or concerns, please contact Jaclyn directly at or attend the zoning hearing.


Union Project’s Kiln Shelter Project is an extension of our pre-existing kiln room that will expand our service to the ceramic community, including our Ceramics Cooperative, students, and artists in Pittsburgh. The Kiln Shelter will be in our side yard as an outdoor studio and classroom space, accessible through the atrium and in close range to our current ceramic studio. It is a long-term solution for housing our outdoor gas ceramic kilns and evolving our ceramic education and professional development programs.

Union Project Kiln Shelter Project illustrated by Abbie Adams

The Kiln Shelter Project was first conceived in 2012 when the outdoor kiln shelter began to show wears and tears that would eventually need repair or even rebuilt. The original outdoor kiln was built in 2002 and is also nearing the end of its useful life. We got a new donated gas kiln, but we need to raise funds to plumb new gas lines to it and refurbish it for use.

The original fundraising goal was just enough to cover the existing kilns, refurbish the gas kiln and hook up a gas line. However, upon hiring an architect who conducted further investigation, it was determined that additional funds would need to be raised to complete the project. After consulting staff, board, and ceramic artists in the community, we decided to relocate the kilns altogether for the long-term to greatly improve the work area's accessibility, safety, and visibility. With the involvement of the Kiln Task Force (which includes architects and members of our Ceramics Cooperative), the new plan is to split the relocation into two phases.

Funds were raised to complete nearly all of Phase I with the remaining funds being considered in December 2016. The Kiln Shelter Project Phase I will include gas and electrical lines, establishing a foundation and kiln platform, and building a structure to house the repaired gas kiln. Phase II will include expanding the work area, covering the space with a roof, and adding additional kilns will be raised as we are able.

Planning and Design

Matt Diersen is the architect from Midland Architecture for our Kiln Shelter Project. Diersen developed a scale design plan for this project, which has been through multiple alterations based on community input. The many discussions that led up to this design includes, the functionality of the Kiln Shelter as a whole, its artistic shape in comparison to Union Project’s architecture, outdoor classroom space, and of course, health and safety.

Union Project’s Ceramic Studio and Ceramic Cooperative program provides studio space, equipment, and community for ceramic artists. This unique program offers the opportunity for ceramic artists to grow and strengthen their creative process and skills in a supportive, communal environment. Members work in a shared studio, energize one another, share knowledge, and collaborate. While taking part in a thriving ceramics environment, members also participate in community-based programming that serves the greater Pittsburgh community. As we approach 2017, our Ceramic Cooperative is growing in numbers and our studio is improving.