Inside the Williamsburg Sawdust Factory That’s Becoming a Performance Space


Williamsburg nonprofit Original Music Workshop is creating a haven where unknown musicians can perform and record in a former sawdust factory at Wythe Avenue and North 6th Street. Designed by Bureau V LLC, the century-old building at 80 North 6th Street will eventually house a large chamber hall, “a crystalline form comprised of perforated steel panels and recessed structural channels,” said the architecture firm, which will have the acoustic isolation of a recording studio.

The double-height room also has a balcony for extra seating and can fit as many as 350 people standing on both levels. A 70-person orchestra can record in the performance space, which includes two isolated mixing rooms and a video editing room. There will also be a double-height lobby with a bar and an independently operated 74-seat restaurant.

“Our goal is that most of the concerts you see here, you haven’t heard of them before. We want to find an audience for these people,” said creative director and composer Paola Prestini.

Through philanthropic donations and performances, the group has raised $16,000,000 so far, and hopes to bring in another $2,000,000 before the space opens in September 2015. OMW founder Kevin Dolan, a former tax attorney and composer, paid $2,325,000 for the factory in 2009. Then he found investors to fund the build-out — as well as the organization — who would then donate their shares of the LLC to the nonprofit after several years of successful work.

We toured the under-construction space with a group that included Councilmember Stephen Levin, who promised capital funding for the project. “I think it’s incredibly important to create these new homes for culture now,” he explained, “because in 10 years, these kinds of places will be gone from this neighborhood — at North 6th and Wythe.”

Check out a few more photos of the interior after the jump.

Music Venue/Artist Space Planned for Former ‘Burg Factory [Brownstoner]

The upstairs section in the lobby:

Another exterior shot:

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