Officials break ground in construction of $5.7 million office and educational facility at Socrates Sculpture Park
September 23, 2022 By Michael Dorgan
Socrates Sculpture Park is about to have its first permanent building on site.
The city opened a new administrative and programming facility in the park — located at the intersection of Vernon Boulevard and Broadway — and officials were on hand Wednesday to celebrate the occasion.
The two-story facility, called The Cubes, will cost $5.735 million to build and is made from shipping containers to acknowledge the neighborhood’s industrial roots.
The 2,640 square foot building will serve as the administrative offices for Socrates Sculpture Park. It will also provide space for art conservation as well as educational and community programming.
The Cubes are expected to be completed in early 2024.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Parks Department Commissioner Sue Donoghue, Socrates Sculpture Park Executive Director Tamsin Dillon and Council Member Julie Won were among those who spoke. attended the official groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday. Stuart Match Suna, co-owner and founder of Silvercup Studios, and Community Board 1 President Marie Torniali were also in attendance.
Dillion, who leads the nonprofit branch of Socrates Sculpture Park that manages the space, said the new facility will mark a milestone for the park.
“This project is a game-changer for this unique and special place; part of our plans for a sustainable and resilient future,” Dillon said.
The new building will be the park’s first permanent structure since its inception in 1986. The five-acre site was transformed in the 1980s, from an abandoned landfill and illegal dumping ground to an open studio and exhibition space for artists. Since then, more than 1,000 artists have created and exhibited work in the park.
Socrates Sculpture Park Staff previously said they were outgrowing their rented offices across the street and wanted something more permanent.
The city and the Socrates Sculpture Park have partnered with LOT-EKan innovative Manhattan-based architecture studio, to design the building.
The pattern features diagonal strips of glass along the containers that allow natural light to enter and park visitors to see through the interior gallery space on the ground floor of the building. Solar panel roofs will also be integrated into the building.
Donoghue said the project is the culmination of decades of community work and advocacy.
“Thanks to Socrates Sculpture Park and everyone who has contributed to this project, our next generation of artists will have a whole new space to explore, learn and grow in the heart of Astoria.”
The project is funded by $3.124 million from the New York City Council and $1.611 million from the Office of the Queens Borough President.
Suna, who co-founded Silvercup Studios in Long Island City, donated an additional $1 million. Suna is also a board member of Socrates Sculpture Park.