Inspired by the industrial urban fabric of the surrounding context, our design attempts to utilize and elaborate upon the most significant structure of the industrial period: the factory.
Informed by the many abandoned factories reclaimed as artists' spaces, our proposal allows users to customize the space in a manner which is most suitable to their art or craft within the open framework of a fixed, but minimal structure. The intention of our design is to provide a pragmatic, yet beautiful structural framework, around which flow open spaces populated with movable units, termed Flex Pods, creating an infinitely flexible, dynamic space. This openness not only allows for dynamism, but also encourages openness and collaboration among artists, and with the public.
In the same language as the Flex Pods, is the large main Gallery, which houses the bar, and also serves as the entry point through which the public can begin a journey through the art factory floors, and then through the courtyard and to the water.
To provide a static counterpoint to the dynamism of the art factory, two concrete circulation and mechanical cores were added to the structure. The inverse location of the circulation cores serve to create a series of larger spatial conditions on each floor.
The building was sited along 5th Street because of the potential for future development, which we felt would likely occur there rather than along Smith Street due to the existence of the above-ground subway lines. The site plan aims to continue the tension between the public and the canal, which cannot be touched due to extensive pollution, and the site, which now can be seen only through holes in a fence. Thus, the site is left overgrown with native grasses, except for paths connecting the building and Smith Street with the water. Like the wire screen surrounding the art factory and courtyard, a linear grove separates the street from the site, both obscuring the contents within and inviting further investigation.