Looking for a home

14 Nov 2015 20:26
Tags arretonbarns beforethebuild easternbarn museumlocation richardharris

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The decision had been made to set up a glass museum, but where should we house it? Somewhere on the Isle of Wight, obviously. But what kind of building would best suit a museum of contemporary glass? A real bit of fortune turned up an excellent solution. It needed a bit of imagination and vision to realise it though!

First port of call: the estate agent web sites. I didn't want to be too ambitious given a simple equation - the bigger it is the more it costs. But 100 to 200 m2 floor space seemed about right to begin with. The location also needed plenty of footfall, good parking, and ideally a pleasant environment. Several possibilities revealed themselves, but they were all too expensive or in the wrong place.

Then I came across an advertisement for Eastern Barn at Arreton Barns. Of course this was the same location as Isle of Wight Studio Glass and Diamond Isle Sculptured Glass. But the whole barn if rented as one unit was quite expensive and it was about double the space I wanted.

Nevertheless it was worth going to see, especially since Richard Harris, managing director of Isle of Wight Studio Glass, told me that it was next door to their studio. Also they were looking into expanding their glass making area and moving their retail operation into Eastern Barn. That meant we could share the cost between us. An ideal solution. The space was the right size for both of us and the cost was right too.

But here is where imagination and vision were needed. The picture below shows what the barn looked like when we went to see it. Not only was it full of stuff, it was a modern 1960s agricultural building. It had concrete block walls, exposed steel beams, a really high ceiling, a rough concrete floor, and no windows! It was dark and dismal. And glass only comes to life in the light. But the location was so good; and in my mind's eye I could see what it could become.

Eastern Barn before the build began

by Anton Doroszenko, Museum Director

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