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Press Kit | no. 1204-10
Press release only in English
A nineteenth-century munitions warehouse on Governors Island in New York Harbor has opened its doors as the city’s newest venue for the arts. Spearheaded by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), the project is the latest piece in the ongoing transformation of the island, a former military base, into a vibrant cultural destination. Pei Cobb Freed & Partners led a team that provided pro bono design services to the nonprofit LMCC to restore and renovate the nearly-150-year-old structure, situated on the island’s northern edge.
The new arts center is the first permanent home on the island for LMCC, founded in 1973 to serve local artists and the community with grants, studio space, and public exhibitions and events. To accommodate the organization’s eclectic program, the architects opened up the interior of the long and narrow two-story building—previously a warren of military offices—and exposed and restored the original truss structure, creating 40,000 square feet of flexible, loft-like space.
The facility includes a luminous main gallery on the upper level, with an adjoining reception area behind a clear glass wall that preserves the expansive quality of the space. Smaller rooms for performance, rehearsal, and exhibition as well as art studios arrayed on both levels enjoy abundant natural light. A new stair and elevator allow for integrated, accessible programming, and a café on the lower level, framed by an exposed-brick wall, offers views of Lower Manhattan and the harbor. In addition to retaining steel, wood, and brick from the existing building, the renovation incorporates energy-efficient systems throughout.
The center’s inaugural season features two exhibitions—The Power of Two Suns by Yto Barrada with guest artist Bettina, and Extinct in New York by Michael Wang—and a special installation by Yoko Ono. Also this fall, the seventeen artists selected for LMCC’s first year-round residency program will participate in an open-studio weekend, giving visitors a glimpse of work in progress in the new spaces.
About Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
With projects in progress in North America, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia, New York–based Pei Cobb Freed & Partners is a leader in architectural design and sustainability. Across more than six decades of exceptionally diverse practice, the firm has completed building and planning projects in more than 100 cities around the world. Consistently recognized for excellence in design, the firm’s projects have received more than 300 awards, including 24 AIA Institute Honor Awards and three AIA Twenty-five year Awards. For more information, visit pcf-p.com.
The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) serves, connects, and makes space for artists and community. LMCC serves artists through residencies, grant funding, and presentation opportunities that allow artists to share their work and creative process with the public. LMCC serves community through free public programs, access to artists and the artmaking process, and grant funding for neighborhood arts and community-based organizations. For more information, visit lmcc.net.
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