Williamsburg’s Sawdust Factory To House New Music Venue With Lofty Ambitions

04/24/2012 2:22 PM |


It looks like Williamsburg will be adding a new concert venue to its already well-stocked roster. The New York Observer and Wall Street Journal report that an abandoned building on North Sixth Street and Berry (formerly a sawdust factory, later a production center for fish tank pebbles) is being converted into one man’s vision of a “perfect music space.” Kevin Dolan, an organist, as well as former senior vice president and tax attorney at Merrill Lynch, is working with architecture firm Bureau V and acoustic engineering group Arup to retrofit the sawdust factory into an “A-to-Z support structure” for music-making, including a venue and a restaurant.

According to the Observer, the Original Music Workshop nonprofit aims to preserve Williamsburg’s music culture by providing rehearsal and recording spaces (enough to host up to 70 musicians at once) in addition to a movable stage for up to 350 standing audience members. The project started three years ago, when Dolan started operating his workshop out of a townhouse. Today, it’s a $15.6 million project, a 13,000-square-foot space, and accomplished young composer Paola Prestini has been named creative director.

“What we’re trying to do with our project is serve the needs of the 21st Century artist,” Prestini told the Observer.

While the facade will remain mostly the same, mock ups for the interior present a futuristic, asymmetrical mesh cage of cross-beams and sophisticated lighting. Bureau V, the architecture firm, is also responsible for a multi-family building with similar design principles going up next door.