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PRATTSVlLLE

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New addition to the Prattsville Art Center
New addition to the Prattsville Art Center

Aimed at bringing new energy and community to Prattsville and surrounding areas, the art center will offer art
residencies and workshops; focus on role of arts in redevelopment and investment.

Project Scope

In a collaborative effort between Prattsville residents, architects and town planners, the new Prattsville Art
Center will be the new cultural hub for the town and surrounding area, bringing together selected artists, writers,
musicians and creative thinkers, as well as graduate art students and faculty from New York University, together
with residents of the historic Catskills town which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011. This major
planning effort will make visual art the cornerstone of the rebuilding effort.

The project consists of restoring an existing building (listed on the Greene County Historical Register) in addition
to building a new, eco-friendly state-of-the-art rear building housing artist residencies and programs. The new
Prattsville Art Center will bring arts and culture to a rural area that has previously had little access to these
services, and hopefully a new energy and a sense of community to a town whose livelihood and local economy
has struggled to recover since Irenes devastating floods.

Once established, the new buildings will create a cultural destination within the region in order to attract visitors,
generate new business and promote its rebirth -- even possibly spurring additional redevelopment within the
area.

The goals of The Prattsville Art Center are linked to what the National Endowment for the Arts Director, Rocco
Landsman, has called creative placemaking. In other words, leveraging the arts to create livable, sustainable
neighborhoods with enhanced quality of life, increased creative activity, distinct identities, a sense of place, and
vibrant local economies that capitalize on existing local assets. As Prattsville is already engaged in a community
planning process, bringing artists into this discussion will enable local residents to draw on their expertise to
think in new and creative ways about the potential and direction of their town.

Planning

The existing 2,000 sq-ft building -- which will partially accommodate the program of the Art Center and currently
consists of using the ground floor as a gallery space, an internet caf and a large art classroom -- was badly
damaged by the floods, and is undergoing restoration.

The main focus of the new building, designed by Brooklyn-based architect Andrea Salvini in collaboration
with architect Nick Matterese, Prattsville Art Center Director Nancy Barton, and Kevin Piccoli, director of the
Prattsville Relief Fund, is providing flexibility and usability for both interior and exterior spaces in order to host
different activities in the center simultaneously. The project also sets the goal to design a high-performance
building for energy efficiency and incorporate innovative and sustainable systems, materials and technologies,
and is conceived as a kind of prototype for new types of structures for rural, flood-prone areas.

Ideally, the architects visualize this project as a sort of laboratory for experimental design and the use of
innovative building solutions, thereby engaging schools of advanced technology in Architecture, Engineering and
Construction. As a consequence, the design might vary in its planning and construction methods according to
the technology emerging from this collaboration, which will eventually be adopted into the building.

Like any significant, energy-efficient design, the focus is to develop a methodology that meets five criteria: a
"smart, sustainable, aesthetically pleasing, cost-effective, energy-efficient solution for the building.

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Apart from its cultural mission, another goal of the center is to empower Prattsville to develop and implement
recovery plans for future weather disasters like hurricanes or floods. Designed as a flood-resistant structure,
another important role the building can play is serving as a public emergency shelter, aiding evacuations or simply
as assembly spot for large groups of people, owing to its open plan. In any event, the purpose of the shelter is
to provide a space to feel secure and comfortable in a disaster environment, which is fundamental to the recovery
process.
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Design Highlights

Built in wood and steel on a concrete foundation, the new building will be a freestanding, three-story structure
built on the site of a decaying barn, presently nestled in the narrow plot of land of the backyard. Its most striking
design feature will be its elevation from the ground on pilotis, or stilts, creating a ground-floor loggia an open
air space for socializing and leisure.

The decision to elevate the new building on pilotis arose for two reasons: A) This project is focused on
maximizing the space of very limited plots of land, therefore the architecture develops vertically on stilts as a
response to preserve as much as possible the existing on-site backyard; B) It also meets the local hurricane and
flood-building codes requiring new construction to be elevated from the ground.

The design take into consideration the existing barn and revisits its vernacular form in a contemporary idiom
through minimizing and stylizing the lines of its architecture and advancing its design through innovative
construction methods, including prefabrication and energy-efficient building technology.

The new building, slated to house art studios and a residency for visiting artists, is designed to be a modern,
live-work environment filled with natural light and an open, column-free interior for maximum flexibility where art
and architecture complement each other.

The building is built in a very simple, revealing steel frame structure that accentuates its lightness and holds
together all the other architectural elements made of wood and glass panels.

A large solarium on the rooftop level extends and maximizes the ground space for recreational or private outdoor
relaxation and reconnection to nature. The interiors have a modern layout with special attention to circulation in
order not to interfere with the building's private spaces. The inhabitants movement will flow easily throughout,
connecting the rooftop solarium to the ground-floor loggia, where socialization and interaction with guests and
the community are welcome.

1. The access to the building is located on the southeast side corner of the ground floor loggia and is
enclosed by glass walls in order to maintain lightness and transparency. This entry hall also houses
the staircase connecting the three floors to the rooftop.

The structural staircase and the plumbing-electrical-heating system "column" -- serving the interiors
from the ground floor and interlocking with the building -- are located in a way to maintain the
lightness but still increasing the stability of the structure.

2. The second floor is configured in three, interlocking studios connected to each other and an ADA
compliant bathroom. Two of them are divided by floor-to-ceiling folding partitions and connected to
the third one through a large opening with a sliding wall that gives the floor space flexibility to open
up completely in order to host events, exhibits and meetings or other activities requiring a larger
space that can be used also by the community at large.

3. The third floor contains the communal living quarters, kitchen and dining areas, a shared bathroom
with a service area for laundry and three large bedrooms.

4. The operable roof pitch shelters the rooftop deck and is just one continuous line shaping the
structure from the second floor up. A major design feature of the roof will be its retractable window
system, constructed to open and close by sliding within the roof.








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Reminiscent of the shape of the barn, the exterior is clad in a skin of cedar siding, forming an outer envelope for
the building to provide a barrier from sometimes harsh weather. The large, operable glass windows that wrap the
facades open wide to further the interior-exterior fluidity and frame the scenery while connecting the inhabitant to
surrounding nature.

Parts of the exterior are rain-screens made from operable louvers that filter light, enclose the interiors, and also
reduce wind load and cooling energy demand by avoiding superfluous solar heat gains without compromising
the benefits of daylighting. Wintertime use of solar shading devices offers the potential for the benefits of thermal
resistance in their closed position. Another compelling reason for using them is the architectural appearance
which it is a positive aesthetic enhancement.

The facades are articulated by the operable sliding wooden panels of the solar shading system and revealing --
when opened -- the glass skin of the building underneath. They also function to make the building as translucent
or opaque to its surroundings, depending on the desired level of privacy. The shudders totally close and secure
the building, and to protect it from various weather conditions. It's like a showcase glass box filled with light
while contained by a wooden skin that it alternately "sheds" or redresses itself according to the inhabitants'
needs.

The result is a dynamic faade where the exteriors are continually in use; screens and windows open and close,
slide and shut. Sunlight, so essential to the creation of art, becomes an essential tool to control via the various
windows, louvers and panels.

The design is deliberately essential and green in its purpose in order to avoid any waste or excessive use of
materials. It is going to be built where possible -- with recycled materials such as reclaimed lumber and a
selection of insulation materials and insulated glazing.

The Courtyard

Prattsville has several outdoor spaces, however, there is no indoor or sheltered gathering space. The creation of
a courtyard between the old and new buildings is part of the plan for the center, acting as a public square or
piazza-inspired gathering point for recreational and cultural activities for the whole community. It will also serve
as a physical link between the old building and the new.

The courtyard is accessible from the main street via a driveway alley located on one side of the old building. This
way the site is closely linked to the main street from a pedestrian viewpoint while the new building will be slightly
hidden from view in the rear, gradually coming into view as one walks down the alley and emerges into the
courtyard.

The back of the existing building is heavily damaged and a section of its roof will be converted into an open
shelter facing the courtyard, covering a seating area for a caf and acting as a vantage point for outdoor events
taking place in the courtyard.

The piazza will include the striking, multifunctional architectural feature of a rotating steel frame connected to the
new building within a triangular shaped light structure that can be used as a support for a film screen, as well art
installations or banners. Staged performance events, such as dance or theater works, can utilize the frame as
sort of sculptural, abstract proscenium, as well as in a more practical way as a lighting support.

The paving of the square adjacent the building is divided into five, inclined triangular sections designed to
integrate raised bed planters for a vegetable and herb gardens. It can be occasionally covered with a lid surface
to accommodate audience members during events or just for weather protection. It will also channel and collect
rainwater in an underground water tank -- water which can serve the whole center and irrigate the garden.

The aforementioned loggia under the building extends the courtyard space and can host exhibits, installations,
caf tables and catered events, but also function as an outdoor lab for classes and sculpture fabrication. The
fire-pit lounge area within the loggia will also act as another gathering point.

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site plan
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#OURTYARD
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Second floor - Studios
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Second floor - Studios
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Piazza (courtyard) - Night view
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Southeast facade