This past Saturday I toured the Brooklyn Army Terminal located in Sunset Park, Brooklyn via OpenhouseNewYork and Turnstile Tours. Usually closed to the public due to it being an industrial manufacturing building, Saturday we got to see some of the inside and it was fantastic!
BAT was designed by Cass Gilbert in 1918 and built by Turner Construction. It served as one of the largest military supply bases through WW ll, it was considered a inter-modal shipping port. At the time it had warehouses, offices, piers, docks, rail sidings, cranes and cargo loading equipment. You can still see some of the rail tracks inside and also the atrium actually has 2 black lines built into the floor to show where the original tracks came into the building. The interior central loading space houses a couple of 5-ton traveling cranes with bays for easy movement of goods. Also, when it was built, it was the largest reinforced concrete construction and still remains in good shape!
Back in the late 60’s the building was decommissioned from the Army and was subsequently bought by New York City in 1981. Since 1985 BAT has been undergoing renovations in phases, presently the building is about 80% renovated. It now houses about 100 companies, including Uncommon Goods, Jacques Torres and Chashama and employs around 3,600 people.
Lastly, worth mentioning since this is a sustainability blog. In the atrium there is a new outdoor exhibition by Isabelle Garbani called Post War Blues. She is one of the artists from Chashama, a group that supports communities by transforming temporarily vacant properties into spaces where artists can flourish. The art piece is a cascade of about 5,000 flowers crocheted from plastic bags. You can even contact the artist to create your own flower to add to the piece!