Powerhouse Arts is a new 170,000-square-foot fabrication facility providing workshops for large scale art production in metal, wood, ceramic, textiles, and printmaking. Flexible performance and exhibition spaces support the artists and community. The not-for-profit partners with artists and fabricators to create a collaborative arts hub, transforming a derelict structure into a vibrant community center for artistic engagement. It is one of the last historic structures on the Gowanus Canal and retains and fosters manufacturing and artistic activity, positively impacting the neighborhood and the city. Built in 1903, as the BRT power station, the complex comprised a Boiler House (demolished in 1950) and Turbine Hall, decommissioned in the 1970s and progressively deteriorated. In the 2000s, the building became a destination for graffiti artists and was nicknamed the “Batcave.” Accommodating the new arts institution while preserving the historic structure required extensive remediation of the brownfield site. The Turbine Hall’s historic steel and masonry structure was stabilized and restored, maintaining the graffiti and patina on the building’s walls. A new pigmented cast-in-place Boiler House addition to the Turbine Hall provides a robust, efficient, and cost-effective envelope to house the workshops. A security gatehouse provides access and serves as the project’s primary street presence.


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