2017 AIA Institute Honor Award Winner in Architecture
Popular Brooklyn performance venue St. Ann’s Warehouse has long been something of a misnomer. Originally located in a church (whence the name), it relocated in 2000 to a former spice-milling factory near the East River waterfront. It was only two years ago that it moved into a proper warehouse—taking up residence in a former tobacco storage facility adjacent to the newly completed Brooklyn Bridge Park. And what a warehouse it is.
Built in 1860, the building bears the traces of more than a century of New York City history: it was originally five stories tall, and had to be altered when the approach to the Brooklyn Bridge was built overhead. In the 1940s, three stories were removed to avoid adding fire protection, a decision that would prove fateful 30 years later, during the arson wave of the 1970s, when the building suffered a fire that left it abandoned for years.
Keeping up the momentum of Brooklyn’s ongoing cultural revival, the building has now been resurrected by St. Ann’s as a creative hub, with a 700-seat theater, offices, auxiliary spaces, and a graceful interior courtyard by landscape master Michael Van Valkenburgh at its center. The sensitive renovation by New York’s own Marvel Architects takes the historic Dumbo structure—with its surviving x-shaped tie-rod anchors and elegant brick arches—and does as little to it as the new program allows, popping up the roof for extra space and technical accommodations, and dramatically lighting the new glass-brick-clad clerestory to give the old building a little bit of showbiz glamour.
Project: St. Ann’s Warehouse, New York
Client: St. Ann’s Warehouse . Susan Feldman (artistic director)
Architect: Marvel Architects, New York . Jonathan J. Marvel, FAIA (founding principal); Lissa So, AIA (founding partner); Scott Demel, AIA (director); Zachary Griffin, AIA (associate)
Mechanical Engineer: BuroHappold
Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates
Lighting Designer: Domingo Gonzales Associates (exterior); David Weeks Studio (custom light fixtures)
Landscape Architect: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
Construction Manager/General Contractor: Yorke Construction
Theater Design Consultant: CharcoalBlue
Project Manager/Owners Representative: DBI Projects AP
Expeditor: JM Zoning
Historic Preservation Consultants: Higgins Quasebarth & Partners
Graphic Design: Flyleaf Creative
Sign Sculptor: Tom Fruin
Size: 24,000 square feet
Cost: $31 million
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