swiss firm herzog & de meuron has been chosen to transform a 113-year-old power plant into a state-of-the-art manufacturing center for the arts.
swiss firm herzog & de meuron has been chosen to transform a 113-year-old power plant into a state-of-the-art manufacturing center for the arts. located on the gowanus canal in brooklyn, new york, the complex will house fabrication facilities that span five disciplines: metal, wood, ceramics, textiles, and printmaking. initial construction is expected to begin later in 2017, with a completion date scheduled for 2020.
herzog & de meuron’s plans include renovating the site’s existing turbine hall and reconstructing the boiler house, which was demolished decades ago. interior rooms will allow for flexible workshop configurations for the wide range of anticipated programs. the facility will be operated by the powerhouse environmental arts foundation, a public charity established in 2012.
‘by preserving, restoring and reconstructing essential elements of the original power station — some still intact and some long-ago demolished — this design strengthens its relationship to the immediate urban context,’ explains ascan mergenthaler, senior partner at herzog & de meuron. ‘the aim is to demonstrate sensitivity to the program by integrating existing layers seamlessly into a functional, modern manufacturing facility.’
‘herzog & de meuron’s design approach celebrates the existing iconic turbine hall and maximizes the potential of the property to ensure its long-term industrial viability,’ adds katie dixon, executive director of the powerhouse environmental arts foundation. ‘the restoration and recreation of the former power station maintains a profound connection to its past and establishes the contemporary manufacturing program our institution needs for the future.’
designed by thomas e. murray, the building was completed in 1904 to serve the newly electrified brooklyn rapid transit lines. after being decommissioned in the 1950s, parts of the original facility were demolished and several attempts at its redevelopment stalled. in more recent years, the abandoned venue has come to be known as the ‘batcave’, a destination for youth, explorers, and artists, whose work covers its walls.