With a mission to produce great plays that are simple yet truthful, the non-profit theater, Atlantic Theater Company, sought a space that would aid in this endeavor. Working alongside the theater, the design team created their new studios and performance center in the underwater caisson at the engineering landmark, Pier 57.
The heart of the school.
The design of the community, arts, and educational space aimed to seamlessly blend modern functionality with the industrial character of the existing space. Situated partially underwater with no access to natural light, a mesh ceiling design with soft lighting above combined with biophilic elements were thoughtfully integrated to humanize the space. At the heart of the school, a central open common areas serves as the primary gathering space for teachers, students and guests. Having such provided a practical function of the circulation core for the whole school with six studios and a performance area located at the perimeter of the space, all connecting back to the central common area.
Preserving the historic character.
Throughout the school, a unique lighting installation winds its way through the entire structure, directing focus upward to the exposed concrete ceiling and beams while generously illuminating the surroundings. This exceptional lighting element is nestled within a suspended metal mesh grid, its open panels thoughtfully designed to offer glimpses of the raw concrete ceiling and the underlying structural framework. Wanting to preserve the historic character, original architectural elements were left uncovered, such as the concrete floor and columns.