This article was originally published on Autodesk's Line//Shape//Space publication as "Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings: Why a Theater Company Chose Resurrection (Not Demolition)."
For a ruined Civil War-era warehouse in Brooklyn, there may have been no better organization than an avant-garde theater group to think creatively about its future.
Situated in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge in the popular Dumbo neighborhood, the 1860 tobacco warehouse was crumbling and forgotten when St. Ann’s, a 36-year-old theater company that began life in another Brooklyn church, sought to renovate it for its first permanent home. Attaining energy efficiency in historic buildings is not just possible—it can be the most sustainable and aesthetic choice.
St. Ann’s, led by artistic director Susan Feldman, hired a building team that included Marvel Architects; BuroHappold Engineering; and Charcoalblue, a theater, lighting, and acoustics consultancy. The resulting 25,000-square-foot complex, St. Ann’s Warehouse, includes two versatile and changeable performance spaces, lobby and event areas, and a triangular garden (designed by landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates).