BROOKLYN, NY-Plans were unveiled Wednesday for what will eventually be the new home of the Brooklyn Philharmonic. Architectural firm HOK is redesigning the former firehouse at 299 Degraw St. in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill section to serve as the BP Music Center. The site was one of two Brooklyn firehouses tapped for redevelopment last year by the New York City Economic Development Corp.
Juliette Lam, senior principal with HOK’s New York office, tells GlobeSt.com the goal is to preserve the 19th century firehouse’s exterior while gut renovating the two-story, 4,250-square-foot interior. The BP Music Center will house the administrative offices of the orchestra as well as Create!, its multi-disciplinary arts partner.
The renovated space will also contain a multi-purpose space for performances, meetings, lectures, and other community uses on the ground floor, along with a music rehearsal area. However, Lam says the performance space is intended more for educational events and will not serve as a permanent concert hall for the orchestra. The philharmonic will still perform primarily at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Lam tells GlobeSt.com the plans are undergoing review by the city. “They’ve suggested some modifications, which we’ve incorporated,” she says. Although HOK provided the redesign on a pro bono basis, the start of actual construction depends on the orchestra’s success in raising the $2.6 million needed to fund the redevelopment. The goal is to begin the project this summer, says Lam.
Both the Degraw Street firehouse and another at 134 Wythe Ave. in the Williamsburg section were home to FDNY Engine Companies that were decommissioned in May 2003. In 2007, the city established a community steering committee to help develop guidelines for the reuse and development of the two firehouse sites.
NYCEDC and the city’s Department of Housing Development and Preservation, in coordination with the Department of Cultural Affairs, issued a request for proposals based on these guidelines. The People’s Firehouse, Inc. and Neighbors Allied for Good Growth will invest an estimated $1.3 million in the redevelopment of the Wythe Avenue site into the Northside Town Hall Community Center and Cultural Center to provide a permanent home for both organizations.