Construction is complete on the Irish Arts Center, a five-story building at 726 Eleventh Avenue in the Midtown, Manhattan neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen. Designed by Davis Brody Bond and Ciaran O’Connor, the brick structure is nestled between West 51st and West 52nd Streets, just around the corner from its original three-story home at 553 West 51st Street.
Since our last update in January, finishing touches on the building have concluded and the sidewalk barriers have been removed.
Photographs of the main western elevation facing Eleventh Avenue show the completed look, including the signage over the entrance. The symmetrical fenestration cleverly incorporates the original roof parapet outline of the former two-story garage, named Cybert Tire, into the appearance of the Irish Arts Center. The garage opened in 1916 and David Brody Bond wanted to preserve and support the front wall with a steel-framed superstructure. The horizontal white lines and rectangular indentations on the brick running bond pattern between the second and third stories mark the border between the old and new chapter in the site’s history. All the windows are made with dark mullions and double-height glass span the top two levels of the facility.
The Irish Arts Center features a 199-seat flexible theater; a rehearsal studio classroom with a full-size mirror wall that can be curtained over, removable ballet barres, and hidden whiteboards; more rehearsal spaces; a library classroom with an adjacent kitchen and storage space; exhibit areas; two dressing rooms; a café; and a restored historic 99-seat theater. The goal of the educational facility is to present and showcase live performances, exhibitions, films, and visual arts that celebrate Irish history and culture through the works of emerging and renowned artists both Irish and Irish-American.
It looks like the Irish Arts Center should open sometime soon, though a formal completion and opening date has not been announced.