Art galleries, luxury hotels, and exotic restaurants are breathing new life into these former industrial spaces
From the Industrial Age to the 21st century, factories have remained integral to American life. Today, a growing number of architects and developers are reinventing abandoned factories into world-class hotels, art galleries, and retail spaces, giving authentic sites a new history. As many factories were designed to be civically minded, the spaces possess a level of scale, detail, and grandeur that suits modern architectural needs while providing a strong foundation. âInnovation often results from challenging sites or contexts, and few are more challenging than the remains of our early 20th-century urban industrial landscape,â says Anthony Cissell, architect and urban designer at Sottile & Sottile, the design architects behind a Georgia power plant transformation. âThe impulse of many redevelopment efforts is often to start with a âclean slate,â resulting in lost opportunities to develop a genuine dialogue with our history and create evolving places with layered authenticity.â Ranging from old meat-processing plants to flour mills to dairy depots, AD highlights the country's most brilliant factory revivifications.
Brooklyn Cider House, New York City
A 1960s furniture factory turned meat processing plant houses the brainchild of brother-sister duo Peter and Susan Yi, who spotted this Bushwick space in 2015. After dedicating two years to renovation, the Yis opened the Brooklyn Cider House, a 12,000-square-foot restaurant and area reminiscent of a Basque cider house in Spain. The owners used repurposed barn wood from upstate New York to create the ceiling beams, imported chestnut cider barrels from Spain, sourced Israeli and Italian artists to paint murals, and built communal tables made from the floors of the Yisâ Manhattan propertyâa former piano factory now reincarnated as a retail outlet. The Brooklyn Cider House offers a prix fixe family-style dinner with cider tasting, as well as a multicultural weekend brunch influenced by Korean, new American, and Basque cuisines.
Plant Riverside District, Savannah, Georgia
Resting on the Savannah River, one of Americaâs first power plants, built in 1912, will be transformed into the Kessler Collectionâs Plant Riverside District, slated to open in October 2019. The 225,000-square-foot masonry brick building will house a JW Marriott hotel as well as high-end retail spaces, 13 food and beverage operations, including three rooftop bars, an art gallery, and a live-music venue with outdoor seating for 700 guests. âAs there were few power plants in America when this one was designed, the original architects took the approach of creating a classical building with deep brick arches and oversize windows to mimic other major municipal buildings of the era,â says Richard Kessler, chairman and CEO of the Kessler Collection, which owns and operates the property. âIf a power plant were designed today, it would be unusual to find it so carefully articulated and expensively built as we see here with the former Georgia Power Plant. The fact that the historic building does have a stately architectural facade now lends itself useful and desirable for a luxury hotel."