Fiedler Marciano Architecture Transforms 19th-Century Manufacturing Facility Into Factory for the Arts

The architects’ design creates a contemporary industrial look that remakes the formerly-abandoned building into a social and cultural destination in downtown Syracuse.

New York, NY, May 26, 2011 --( On a noisy traffic island surrounded by freight trains and cars, Fiedler Marciano Architecture (FMA) recast 219 S. West Street in Syracuse, New York, as the unlikely home of a recording studio, the anchor tenant of a new multi-use arts complex that supports the adjacent Red House Arts Center. The project transforms a once desolate site into a vital link between the Armory Square District, which is fast becoming a downtown arts community, and the burgeoning development on the Near Westside. The activities of SubCat Studios and the sleek design make 219 West a place to stop by rather than pass by.

Community culture. This new 19,200-sq.-ft. arts complex is the latest and most ambitious redevelopment project by New York City-based architectural duo, Mark Fiedler and Martin Marciano. The Syracuse University alumni helped to pioneer the rebranding of Syracuse and partnered with local owners and institutions on projects that dovetail with the revitalization of the city’s core.

The three-story masonry building houses SubCat Studios on the basement and first floor, as well as a lobby, lounge, and café that are shared with Red House Arts Center. Music instruction, rehearsal areas, and office spaces for related industries are situated on the second floor. This summer, Syracuse University will lease space for a course, “Studio Recording/The Inclusive Recording Studio – SUmmer at SUbCat.” Three residential suites on the top floor provide accommodations for visiting troupes and artists in residence.

“We are a New York City-based firm,” said Marciano. “But we developed a design strategy for the project based on our personal connection with Syracuse and our awareness of the urban issues that post-industrial cities are facing.”

“The owner, Scott Allyn, originally asked us to design a recording studio,” explained Fiedler. “Then, during the design process, we realized that different arts organizations – all located in the same building – would bring a collaborative synergy. So we worked with the owner to create a viable and vibrant arts complex that would bring life to downtown Syracuse.”

Arts convergence. The redesign of 219 West embodies the growing cultural life of the local community. Along with the adjacent Red House Arts Center, a regional theater and music venue, the arts complex revitalizes this small but pivotal corner of the city.

To create a stronger connection with the arts community downtown, FMA reoriented the building towards Armory Square. They added a glazed extension to the ground floor of the building that becomes the main entry to the complex and also brings daylight into the lobby. The architects reclad the stair tower, an addition from the 1990s, in perforated metal panels that reference the area’s industrial past. Together with the entry addition, the tower recladding gives the building a more inviting and public presence.

Urban recording studio. FMA burst open the base of the building and added large areas of multi-colored glazing facing S. West Street that showcase SubCat Studios. The studios sit just behind the glass, and the large windows draw people’s attention, enticing passersby to view recording sessions as they happen.

The noise from trains and cars posed a significant challenge. To buffer the sound and vibrations from passing trains, as well as additional reverberations caused by traffic outside the large windows, the architects collaborated with Lally Acoustical Consulting to replace the existing floor framing with a robust concrete slab that supports a custom-designed floating slab and partitions. This “box within a box” approach ensures an optimal recording setting within a turbulent urban environment.

“This is one of our most ambitious and rewarding projects to date,” said Fiedler. “We are helping to contribute to the cultural life and development of Syracuse, one building at a time. As established professionals, it feels good to give something back to the community that nurtured us.”

Images and a fact sheet are available upon request.

To schedule a media tour on June 2 or 3, please contact Tami Hausman at 646.742.1700.

About Fiedler Marciano Architecture
Founded by Mark Fiedler and Martin Marciano, Fiedler Marciano Architecture is a New York City-based firm that provides architecture design services to cultural and institutional projects, educational facilities, museums, and commercial and residential clients. Fiedler Marciano Architecture is the firm behind other standout Syracuse renovation projects, including: The Bank Building, the Couri Visitor’s Center at Syracuse University, and The Warehouse at Syracuse University, with Gluckman Mayner Architects. FMA is Architect of Record, with Design Architect Atelier Bow-Wow, for the BMW Guggenheim Lab, a global travelling exhibition that will launch in three cities, starting in New York City on August 3.

Fiedler Marciano Architecture
Krysta Venturella