Irish Arts Center
New York, NY

21,000 SF • with Ireland’s Office of Public Works

The Irish Arts Center (IAC) is an arts and cultural organization dedicated to promoting the vibrant image of Ireland and Irish America through performance, exhibition and education. Founded in 1972, the IAC offers its audiences a window into Irish culture through live performances, film, visual arts presentations and classes in Irish language, history, music and dance. The Center provides a dynamic platform for Ireland’s top emerging and established artists.

For most of its existence the IAC has operated out of a converted three story tenement building, whose ground floor was formerly a garage which became a small theater. The proposed expansion will provide for an adjacent new building on 11th Avenue which will connect to the original facility, creating a center with two venues, as well as associated support, classroom and rehearsal space. The new facility will provide spaces for collaboration among the creative disciplines of music, theater, dance, film, comedy, literature and the visual arts. The new facility is built upon the site of a former garage, which is part of the history of the neighborhood. Though not a historic landmark, the community felt strongly about retaining the original two story brick façade as a link to the neighborhood’s past. The main façade is being preserved as a feature of the new building.

Because of funding from the Irish government, Davis Brody Bond has also collaborated with Ireland’s Office of Public Works (OPW) on the design of the new building. Located on 11th Avenue, the 21,000 sf infill building and renovation of the historic IAC will include a 199-seat flexible theater, associated theater support facilities; rehearsal studio classroom; multi-purpose classroom; exhibit areas; café; and the restored 99-seat historic theater. Because of a signficant amount of city funding, including the city’s grant of the property for the project, there were extensive approvals and consultations with the community board and city agencies. When completed, the new Irish Arts Center will add to New York City’s rich cultural institutions by creating a premiere arts facility that expresses the talent, energy, tradition and hospitality of Irish and Irish-American culture.

Preliminary design scheme