New Designs Emerging to Revamp the Steinfeld Warehouse

February 21, 2012

By Teya Vitu

Scaffolding is up at the Steinfeld Warehouse, 101 West 6th Street, as structural repairs got started earlier in February, a first step to get the 105-year-old brick structure ready for its new life as an arts hub.

This design shows how a corridor leads through the Steinfeld Warehouse and, once outside, descends to the basement level, which is 5 feet lower than what will be a new courtyard. Courtesy Poster Frost Mirto.

Meanwhile, conceptual planning for the interior calls for turning the loading dock area in the building’s southwest quadrant into a public courtyard with access via a zaguán-style corridor running through the building to 9th Avenue.

“The idea is to reconnect the courtyard to the east face of the building,” said Corky Poster, a principal at the Poster Frost Mirto architecture and urban planning firm.

The zaguán is the focal point for the Poster Frost Mirto vision to revive the Steinfeld Warehouse as a live-work haven for artists with nine apartments with studios, larger public art studios, classrooms, a gallery and possibly a café.

The zaguán is a Mexican-style passageway leading from an entrance door to a central patio. In the case of the Steinfeld, the 16-foot wide corridor would be 88 feet long and open to the courtyard. Poster describes it as half-indoors, half-outdoors.

The corridor would have skylights and squares of glass floor to bring daylight into the zaguán and also down below into the basement.

Some of the apartments would be along one side of the corridor with public studios on the opposite side.

Other apartments would open upon a hardscaped courtyard, which would be open for a variety of public events.

Poster Frost Mirto based its conceptual designs on input at a couple of public meetings in January and February, where artists and Downtown neighborhood residents weighed in on what they wanted to see inside the Steinfeld Warehouse.

Here you can see how the entrances to artist aparments would be at a lower level than the courtyard. Courtesty Poster Frost Mirto.

The Warehouse Arts Management Organization acquired the Steinfeld in November 2011 and hired Poster Frost Mirto to come up with conceptual designs and undertake the structural repairs that started February 7.

The Steinfeld needs substantial brick repair to the 1907 walls and also stone masonry repairs in the basement. That should be completed by the end of March, at which time roof repairs would start. After that, new electrical, heating and cooling systems will be installed.

However, money still needs to be found to build out the Poster Frost Mirto concepts.

In the mean time, Poster Frost Mirto has not ironed out all the concept details. The architects want to bring two similar design schemes to the WAMO board, which wants input from the El Presidio, Dunbar/Spring and West University neighborhoods before committing to a final design.

The question arises with how to tie the corridor to the courtyard, which is five feet lower.

One concept has the corridor continue outside at the same level under an existing canopy alongside the remaining apartments. Steps would lead down to the courtyard.

A second concept has steps at the end of the corridor leading down to the basement, which would be opened to the outdoors. Steps would lead 5 feet up to the courtyard.

The second concept has two-story apartments with the entrance and artist studio on the basement level and the living quarters upstairs.

Both concepts had supporters among artists and neighborhood advocates.