Watch This Space

(For fundraisers, no doubt.)

Powerhouse Arts Kristin Tata

Powerhouse Arts announces itself about a block away, with signage dropped in among underused storefronts on Gowanus’s postindustrial main drag, though the exact nature of this destination is unclear. The transition from narrow vestibule to soaring overhead space recalls the compression-expansion one experiences when entering a performance venue. But the weathered graffiti on the brick sidewalls signals something else: This is a space, the peeling paint begs us to understand, for art—no, for artists. Herzog & de Meuron took the 117-year-old power plant and added smart finishes, sleek lighting, and circulation of all kinds; the firm also built an addition in tinted concrete, color-matched to the original reddish structure. One floor of this latter segment—called, just like HdM’s best-known project at Tate Modern in London, the “Turbine Hall”—now serves as the “largest columnless arts venue in Brooklyn,” according to Powerhouse Arts president Eric Shiner. (For fundraisers, no doubt.) The organization’s tagline refers to the campus as a “factory for art and ideas” (empha…

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