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Building Made from 18 Shipping Containers Coming to Socrates Sculpture Park

By Jeanmarie Evelly | September 19, 2016 1:26pm
"The Cubes" will be the park's first permanent building and is slated to open in 2018.
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Courtesy Socrates Sculpture Park

ASTORIA — Socrates Sculpture Park's first permanent building is coming soon in the form of a two-story structure made from shipping containers, officials announced.

"The Cubes," a 2,640-square-foot orange building that will rise next to the park's entrance on Vernon Boulevard and Broadway, will be used for offices, indoor exhibits and classes for kids and teens.

Though Socrates is already open all year, the new indoor space will allow the park to offer programs like classes, workshops and events year-round, officials said.

It's slated to open in early 2018, according to a Parks spokeswoman.

"We are thrilled to create a new home that will expand our programmatic possibilities and secure our future as an arts organization," John Hatfield, the park's executive director, said in a statement.

The new building will be constructed using six shipping containers donated in 2014 by the Whitney, which gifted its pop-up studio to Socrates Park during its move to a new building in lower Manhattan.

Architecture firm LOT-EK will adapt and expand the structure, adding 12 more shipping containers to create the two-story building, which will feature v-shaped glass windows.

The building will also have solar panels on the roof, as well as a shaded deck next to its indoor space that will be used for outdoor workshops, officials said.

Park staff said the new site is needed to "serve the growing demands of the park," which opened 30 years ago on the waterfront on land that was being used at the time for illegal dumping.

Socrates Sculpture Park now attracts more than 150,000 people a year who come to see its outdoor art exhibits and attend events like the Bike Parade or its annual Halloween Harvest Festival.

"Once an industrial landfill, Socrates Sculpture Park is now one of the city’s most exciting, interactive, and accessible spaces for public art," Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said in a statement.

"With the installation of The Cubes, Socrates will be able to host year-round programming, reaching even more New Yorkers."