Pratt Brooklyn Design Center
by Joseph E. Pollack
The Juliana Curran Terian Design Center is the newest addition to the Brooklyn, New York, campus of Pratt Institute. Designed by Hanrahan Meyers Architects, the structure is located between two existing academic buildings that house Pratt's various schools of design.
The new pavilion unites the buildings, physically closing the gap between them while enclosing a skylit courtyard directly behind. The integration of this feature is just one clue that architects Thomas Hanrahan and Victoria Meyers sought to maintain and enhance elements of the existing site as they introduced their own sense of contemporary style to the campus.
The project is rather small — roughly 9,000 square feet (840 square meters) spread over four levels — but it plays the conceptually significant role of providing common space for design disciplines formerly housed in separate buildings. Hanrahan, who is also the dean of Pratt's school of architecture, says, "I had a unique understanding of exactly how important an addition it would be to the campus in terms of its design and purpose."
I made my way to New York City to take a few photographs and get a sense of the Design Center firsthand. Relying on vague directions to the campus and memories of what the project looked like from pictures online, I approached the address on foot, assuming a metal-clad work of contemporary architecture would be easy to pick out amidst its more traditional brick surroundings.
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