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Paul Mahder Gallery

Paul Mahder Gallery

Art and sculpture gallery, wine tasting venue, event space and performance space in an historic (though un-preserved)  automobile dealership building.  Includes an outdoor sculpture garden with a heroic moss wall.

The Quonset hut form coupled with the dynamic gallery walls create spectacular acoustics for performances, film festivals or just a piano in the background. Performance events take advantage of the high volumes and variable “rooms.”

A “Genuine Green” Project

Instead of throwing the building away after decades of hard service, we chose to not only use the existing space but to celebrate its unique character and its perfect suitability for a gallery use. In an ideal response to context and environmental settings we chose not to force the building to adapt to Paul’s needs. Instead Paul designed his entire business operation in direct response to the qualities of the existing building.

The building already had great day lighting. Most of the lighting needs are provided by the skylights and the larger opening at the street. Supplemental lighting is all “task” oriented and illuminates the artwork only. No general lighting is necessary.

At night the mood is different. Rather than trying to make nighttime look like daytime, night time visitors experience a more intimate gallery with only task lighting. Seeing nighttime and daytime as different is also a key ingredient of “genuine green.”

The building already has great ventilation. The large openings allow for natural ventilation and can be varied simply by changing the combination of open doors. Fans at the rear of the building remove warm air and pull cooler air in through the opening. The thermal mass of the expansive floor then cools that air similar to the ways that wine caves work.

Because of the tall space cooling is not necessary. Warm air has plenty of space to rise and accumulate during business hours keeping the floor relatively comfortable for guests. On the hottest days we accept a change in the comfort level as natural rather than using lots of energy to make the space a few degrees cooler. At night cooling fans remove accumulated heat and cool the space so that it is ready for guests again in the morning.

Instead of a massive air conditioning system we use oversized ceiling fans that gently move air around so that even warm air feels more comfortable.

“The building is an important space in downtown Healdsburg, part of the growing central Healdsburg neighborhood. It’s important to me to work on projects that support the life of a neighborhood, that make our streets memorable to our neighbors and visitors. The gallery has already proven to be an attraction, offering surprise and delight to people passing by. Between the drama of the space and the kind of art that Paul chooses to showcase, the gallery is unlike anything else in town.”