The Brooklyn Rapid Transit Power Station, completed in 1903, was originally built to supply electricity to the local steam railroad, elevated railroad, and street car system. It consisted of two parts: the Turbine Hall and the Boiler House. About 50 years after its construction in the 1950s, the Power Station was decommissioned and the Boiler House component was demolished.
Since the time of its decommissioning, the Turbine Hall has sat abandoned with restricted access. In the early part of the new millennium, Brooklyn’s youth, drifters, and homeless dubbed the building the “Batcave,” and used its walls as a canvas for graffiti. In 2012, the Powerhouse Environmental Arts Foundation acquired the site in order to redevelop it into the Powerhouse Workshop.
After acquiring the property, the foundation tasked Herzog & de Meuron with redesigning the 113-year-old structure into a fabrication center to serve the working needs of artists. The existing Turbine Hall will be extensively renovated and the Boiler House, demolished in the 1950s, will be rebuilt. Fabrication shops dedicated to wood, metal, ceramics, textiles, and printmaking will all grace the renovated and rebuilt structure. Interior spaces will be flexible to allow for multiple workshop configurations depending on what is needed at a given time.
The main goal of Powerhouse is to support the working needs of artists and create a platform that provides employment in production and full-service fabrication, according to the projects website. In addition to the fabrication spaces, the Powerhouse will also hold public events and exhibitions.
Work on the project will begin in 2017 with the facility scheduled to open in 2020.