Proteus Gowanus

  • Neighborhood

    Gowanus, Brooklyn
  • Use

    Art Gallery and Event Space, Adaptive Re-use
  • Client

    • Proteus Gowanus Gallery
  • Status

  • Budget



The Proteus Gowanus Gallery in Brooklyn describes itself as an interdisciplinary gallery and reading room that “acts as an interpreter of culture and place, deepening the community’s sense of context and connection.” When an adjacent single-story industrial building along Union Street became available, we used that definition as our design brief in adapting the existing structure for an expansion.

Our approach was one of strategic intervention in changing the relationship of interior and exterior spaces while preserving the character and patina of the building and the block. 

Though the existing structure measures only 13’ wide it has tremendous potential at the urban scale. By developing a public event space here, the gallery is opened up to a major thoroughfare and the neighborhood, creating a loop of activity within the block.  

By slightly altering the existing grade change inside the building, an indoor amphitheater was created that can be completely open to and inclusive of the street. 

An incision in the base of the chimney allows entry to a narrow alley at the interior of the block. This creates new spatial experiences that are also curatorial opportunities for the gallery. The storefront acts as door, window, awning, and signpost in one insertion. Similarly, at the rear, a small link building acts as a hinge connecting the existing gallery to its new space.