Powerhouse Workshop

Have you ever wished for a facility in NYC that could provide fabrication space for metal, wood, printmaking, and any other hands-on creations? For a place that is a continuation of the resources and atmosphere you once had as a student? Well I sure have. I even focused my undergraduate thesis on these type of programmatic spaces for Williamsburg.  

Thesis Image by Danielle Kachler.

Our community once had such a place called 3rd Ward that opened in 2006, but it was poorly managed and ended up closing in 2013. It was a great space for the new do-it-yourself and Etsy era, but it was short-lived.

Now, four years later, we are gifted with amazing news that a space like this will return to our home, next to the Gowanus Canal and across the street from Whole Foods. Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron is set to design a manufacturing center for designers and makers.

Called the Powerhouse Workshop, it will be located in the former Brooklyn Rapid Transit Power Station. Not only will they provide workspace and equipment to Brooklyn’s growing number of creatives, but they also plan to hold events and exhibitions.

Completed in 1903, the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Power Station was constructed to supply electricity to the newly consolidated local steam railroad, elevated railroad and street car system.

Construction is expected to begin later this year, with completion projected for 2020.

I found this news extraordinary, especially since I live only 13 blocks from the expected site. I only hope the facility and equipment fees won’t break my bank. More and more designers like myself are moving to New York City in hopes to find studio spaces to fill with personal equipment. With the rental market rising, it’s been harder to find anything at affordable prices.

The derelict power station became a canvas for graffiti artists, who nicknamed it the Batcave.

The derelict power station became a canvas for graffiti artists, who nicknamed it the Batcave.

"By preserving, restoring and reconstructing essential elements of the original Power Station – some still intact and some long-ago demolished – this design strengthens its relationship to the immediate urban context," said Ascan Mergenthaler, senior partner at the firm. "The aim is to demonstrate sensitivity to the program by integrating existing layers seamlessly into a functional, modern manufacturing facility."

The facility will be operated and managed by the Powerhouse Environmental Arts Foundation. Completion is projected for 2020 with construction starting later this year.

Read more in Dezeen: Tranforming Brooklyn's "Batcave" into Create Hub.

Powerhouse Workshop, we have high-hopes for you, please don’t let us down!

Danielle Kachler, IIDA, Intermediate Designer