Deborah Berke Partners designs an arts incubator for creativity and community in New Haven, Connecticut, USA
New York-based practice Deborah Berke Partners has designed NXTHVN, an arts incubator for creativity and community founded by artist Titus Kaphar in New Haven, Connecticut. The new facility is the result of the renovation and expansion of two former industrial buildings, which originally housed ice cream and laboratory equipment factories.
Deborah Berke Partners’ project
NXTHVN is contributing to the revitalization of the Dixwell neighborhood and New Haven by providing affordable work spaces for designers and artists. The new building is not only an example of architectural renovation and expansion but also an urban redevelopment intervention aimed to provide new landmarks for the local community.
In the old buildings, NXTHVN houses professional artist studios, co-working spaces, and a double-height hall with sawtooth skylights to accommodate events and performances. There is also a 3D printing fabrication lab, a meeting hall, a gallery, and a café that opens onto the street. On the other hand, the new addition houses studios and apartments for artists-in-residence.
Renovation and expansion
The practice preserved some industrial elements of the former factory such as timber beams, brick walls, and exposed concrete floors. On the other hand, the new addition attached to the existing building features an abstract rectangular volume that is totally illuminated at night, becoming a landmark for the neighborhood.
The façade of the new addition designed by Deborah Berke Partners is composed of glass and brick, which were shaped so as to generate textures and shadows. Transparent glass on the second and third levels opens views out to the neighborhood, while translucent glass at street-level brings natural light into the studios.
[Text: Arianna Callocchia / Photo: Chris Cooper, Tim Williams]