The Brant Foundation wanted a unique space where rotating exhibitions of contemporary art could be viewed by the public in a space that also spoke to the cultural history of the East Village. This former 1920s ConEd substation presented an ideal opportunity to be reimagined a world-class exhibition space. Each floor of the 16,000 SF building offers visitors a unique viewing experience. One enters through a new garden on the west side of the building directly into an exhibition space. The second floor, with much of its original masonry intact, is characterized by its 30’ height, historic glass-and-wire stair enclosure and 50-ton operable gantry. New clerestory windows introduce natural light and new veneer brick, that match the original in color, texture and pattern, hides mechanical systems and insulation. The third-floor gallery restores the existing character of the concrete ceiling structure and frames views North across the neighborhood. The fourth floor, with a wood floor and ceiling creates a more intimate space. A 12’x14’ skylight that also serves as a rooftop reflecting pool allows light to stream through 4” of water and creating a dynamic exhibition venue. In addition to the new mechanical and lighting systems, other new elements include an industrial-sized elevator, an oversized floor hatch system with a chain hoist to move art and a 3-story monumental window on the rear façade that is a contemporary response to the restored front façade.


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