Industrial Revival: Atlas Repurposes a 1920s Abandoned Factory into a Creative Hub

“The decision to restore the original windows was more or less a trade-off decision on energy efficiency,” Joseph says. “We compensate for this by buying into a solar CSA, and currently all of the energy consumed by the building is generated by solar energy.” As more city mice head for the hills, a rustic Brooklyn has emerged in the quaint towns of the Hudson River in north NYC. But industrialist Newburgh, across the Hudson after experiencing Beacon, has until recently never been a part of that scene. A once booming industrial center known for its textile factories, the city was in a state of deep neglect and decline when Joseph Fratesi and Thomas Fratesi staked a giant claim there. The two are founding partners of Atlas Industries, an architecture, design and craftsmanship firm they founded in 1993 in the gritty wasteland of Gowanus, Brooklyn. There, they converted a commercial building into a workshop enclave for artists and manufacturers – and two decades later they decided to remake it, this time on a larger scale in Newburgh.

In 2012, they took over a 55-square-foot dinosaur, an abandoned three-story brick factory built to make worsted yarn. Its hundreds of steel-framed windows had been filled with cinder blocks – their unveiling was just one of the company’s ongoing tasks to create Atlas Studios, now home to 45 creative companies, including Atlas Industries itself. In addition to a clever urban renewal, Atlas is known for its modular steel shelves that move everywhere. Join us for a glimpse of their now full and buzzing Newburgh neighborhoods.

Photograph by Dana Gallagher, courtesy of Atlas Industries.

Atlas and # 8
Above: Atlas occupies a 15,000 square foot corner of the sprawling complex, which is now a creative hub with its own gallery that hosts art exhibits, concerts, and events. The concrete block frame plantations are the work of Lindsey Taylor, wife of Joseph, gardener and collaborator of Gardenista. Read his stories about Gardenista here.

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