Friday, November 13, 2015

Pratt Institute

Cool New Film/ Video Department

Pratt Institute, a renowned New York City-based college that educates creative thinkers from around the world, recently opened a new home for its Film/Video Department: a state-of-the-art facility in the former Pratt Store building at 550 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn. The 15,000-square-foot facility, designed by architect and Pratt alumnus Jack Esterson, is located in close proximity to Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard and contributes to the expanding presence of motion media in the Borough of Brooklyn. 
“Brooklyn has emerged as the hot new destination for television and film production," said Carlo A. Scissura, President and CEO, Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
Anchored by stunning interior architectural features, Esterson designed independent volumes that either seem to float or, in some cases, actually do in order to create acoustical separation.  To give the volumes their own identities, he turned to his long-ago teacher Haresh Lalvani, now a Pratt architecture professor and sculptor. Lalvani used algorithms to devise a series of shapes that could be cut out of the aluminum now wrapping each volume, reflecting the activity within. Shapes for the recording studio’s panels, for instance, suggest sound waves. Installing the aluminum 1 1⁄2 inches away from the supporting walls, then lighting the perforations from below, also creates depth.  In contrast to the opaque aluminum compositions, the volumes’ upper levels and the mezzanine’s offices and classrooms are all fronted in translucent glass.
The new space gives faculty and students access to a 96-seat screening room; one large soundstage (capable of being converting into two) and a second, smaller soundstage that together comprise 3,000 square feet; a sound recording studio with surround-sound capability; and two high-end color grading and post production suites.
The project was recognized with a citation award in the 2015 American Institute of Architects New York State Design Awards.
A building for filmmakers should reflect different ways of using light, Esterson explains, adding that there’s a reason he chose mostly grays for the interior: “The color in a film school really needs to come from the students’ films.”


In the film and video department at Pratt Institute. CNC - cut aluminum wraps a corner of the screening room.

Maple (more commonly used for flooring) clads the underside of the screening room's enclosure where it faces the lobby.

Aluminum frames the front of spaces including the screenwriters' classroom, set on top of the recording studio.

Animation and video have become like the written word. Whatever field you’re in, you’ll need them to communicate,” Jorge Oliver says.

PRATT website
ARCHITECT magazine

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