In the spring of 2016 Textile Arts Center (TAC) located on Carroll Street in Gowanus Brooklyn needed to consolidate programs into one 2800 square foot space after losing an adjacent 1500 square foot space. Their headquarters needed to house an extensive children’s educational program as well as eight artists-in-residence who occupy the individual studios during a nine-month cycle. Coggan and Crawford’s task was to manipulate a space plan that would accommodate multiple programs. The program brief included improve the textile dying station and reorient the administration work stations for better communication between program managers and teachers, accommodating a yardage table for silk screening, classroom space for children’s classes in the after school hours and then adult classes in the evenings. The Artist in Residence program accommodates Artist for a nine month cycle and then in the summer the space changes dramatically to accommodate a 50 children summer program. There was an acknowledgement that this multiplicity of program might be too dense for the space, but for at least a twelve-month period the re-design was necessary.
The solution was to demolish the existing partitions and create a thick storage wall that would separate the artist-in-residence studios from the main studio and classroom space. The storage wall is a series of 30-inch deep movable cabinets that open out to the studio/classroom area. These cabinets are movable and shift to the perimeter of the space during the summer program. The back side, which faces the artists’ studios is clad in a woven felt rugs. These rugs were made by the Textile Arts staff and members of the textile community and were woven and adhered to the cabinets on site. The felt material was reused felt wallpaper from the original space that the designer Annie Coggan and TAC director Kelly Valleta designed into woven wall coverings. This act of woven textiles on the back of the storage was meant to dampen the sound in the artist’s studios for better concentration. The woven wall also operates as a pin board for the artists while working.
Although our participation in this project was simple space planning techniques and a small amount of design and material innovation the result is a dynamic and collaborative environment for the Brooklyn textile community.