AU Press Releases

Engineering council recognizes design work for Alfred University’s Inamori Museum

The architects and engineers for the Inamori Kyocera Museum of Fine Ceramics at Alfred University (AU) were recognized by the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York (ACEC New York) for their design of engineering systems that make the museum function.

Wendel Duchscherer Architects and Engineers, a Buffalo-based firm that does architecture, electrical, plumbing, fire protection and structural engineering consulting, received a silver award for “excellence in the category of building/technology systems” from ACEC New York at its 45th annual gala.

Peter T. vom Scheidt, a licensed professional engineer with Wendel, presented the award to Linda Jones, vice president for statutory affairs and head of the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Thursday.

“Few of us can appreciate” the challenges that accompany “repurposing” a space for another use, said vom Scheidt. The space where the museum is now located on the second floor of Binns Merrill Hall on the AU campus had previously been used for classrooms, studios and storage for the Museum of Ceramic Art.

The space had to be gutted and rebuilt, but that meant that the mechanical systems and services had to be redesigned and reinstalled in a manner compatible with the new use of the space as a museum.

It is gratifying, vom Scheidt said, to have his peers in the American Council of Engineering Companies recognize the challenges, and the solution they devised. It is unusual, and rewarding, to receive a prize “for things most people take for granted.”

This is the second award for the Inamori Kyocera Museum of Fine Ceramics.

Earlier, the Museum received highest honors for interior design in the annual Design Excellence competition, sponsored by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Buffalo/Western New York chapter.

The Museum was dedicated in a May 2011 ceremony that featured Dr. Kazuo Inamori, founder and chairman emeritus of Kyocera Corporation, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of high-tech ceramics. The “fine” ceramics showcased in the Museum are engineered materials designed for cutting-edge applications in science and industry.

“The Inamori Kyocera Museum of Fine Ceramics plays an important role in educating the public, young people in particular, about the vital role of ceramics in the future economy, in areas ranging from information technology to medical devices, diagnostic systems, industrial equipment, renewable energy and environmental preservation,” said Alfred University President Charles M. Edmondson at the dedication ceremony.