While it once served as a structure where fittings for steel parts were made, one building on the grounds of SteelStacks in Bethlehem will see an adaptive reuse for a new generation.
Artefact Inc., an architectural firm in Bethlehem, is re-imagining a "turn and grind" parts building into a cultural flex space for ArtsQuest.
The facility is part of the long-term development of the ArtsQuest campus, said Jeff Parks, president of ArtsQuest. Though the goal is to start construction in 2013, he said that is an indefinite date, particularly since the organization is looking for funding and is offering naming rights for the facility.
The organization has $2 million in place, said Parks. Some funding comes from a state grant and tax credit programs, but he is engaged in seeking additional funding. He estimated the total cost for the project to be about $10 million.
The challenge in preserving the historical integrity of the building allowed the firm to explore the best way to restore the aging structure, which dates back to 1909, said Lucienne Di Biase Dooley, principal of Artefact Inc.
Though it does not have a name yet, she said the building would have an “enormous economic, social impact.”
Construction should start in 2013 and the structure will be part of the activities at the ArtsQuest campus, said Di Biase Dooley.
“Most of the existing structure will remain,” said Di Biase Dooley. “To save a building like that, it's a valuable asset.”
The building is about 16,000 square feet and the challenges involved deciding how to re-use the building, taking it from an industrial use to a more current use. The type of windows, doors, and heating and cooling methods also need to be determined, said Di Biase Dooley.
The design also had to be reviewed by the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission and meet The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.
“We are just waiting to know how it's going to be used inside,” said Di Biase Dooley.Overall, Parks said the space would have a diversity of uses.
“Some of our existing programming will be expanded or moved inside,” said Parks. These programs include Octoberfest, which would partially be hosted there, hospitality events for Musikfest, a Latin festival and an annual visual art/antiques event, to name a few.
Other potential uses including offering space to host large-scale art exhibits and touring scientific exhibits, unique shows and community events.“Really, nobody has the space or inclination to present those (activities),” said Parks. “That's the diversity of how the building will be used. We do see a lot of opportunities.”