The Academy has been housed in the landmarked building since 1990, without almost no modifications to the original 42,000 square foot structure; the school suffered a fire in 2001, which destroyed approximately 50% of the interior. TRA was commissioned not only to restore the damaged building, in sixteen weeks for a cost of $40.00 per sf, but also to give to the growing institution a public presence.
The Master Plan, which was initiated in 2010, devises a phased construction schedule that allows for the work to be done during the 12 summer weeks. The current phase of the renovation addresses the secondary vertical circulation, the handicapped access. the, façade restoration and storefront reconstruction . The 75’ long new storefront infill intervention was unanimously approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission after one presentation.
The current renovation, already demonstrated to have changed positively the way the students live in and perceive the Institution; the design of the interior spaces makes architecture part of the curriculum, every move and dollar is intended to help students create great art, the work becoming more enduring with the completion of every renovation phase.
The proposed new entry gallery, exterior restoration , new storefront infill and signage, is the physical expression of the School’s desire to announce its presence and to bridge between the insular art world and the community around it.
The proposed new storefront threshold will act as the school quad, an active surface connecting the school to the neighborhood, where art is displayed and social interaction is encouraged, turning the short block into the “Academy Street”. The design recalls the projecting storefront seen often in the area, it also refers to Gio Ponti's furnished windows, where the inserted display elements, interrupt the structure. extending the pattern of the design of the fourth wall, (in this case the display of art).
The sublte but effective signage and the clarity of the storefront design announces the School to the community, proudly declaring
Its status as the last light manufacturing single occupant in Tribeca.