I was looking for a place that has similar characteristic to my object. My Object is a light box with layers of white cards to create a white scenario on surface, but a total different effect in the dark with light on at the back. All kinds of texture would be in disclose with levels of brightness. With a unsure idea in my mind and didn’t know where to start, I looked through some projects that recently finished in New York that interested me, including the Highline and Lowline, both involved unused railway.
That made me started to research the abandoned building/facilities in New York. And I found Domino Sugar Refinery in Brooklyn, it was the largest sugar factory in the world, it was also one of the first five factories started up in Brooklyn. The factory was located in Willamsburg, Brooklyn. Brooklyn was an industry district since 18’s. All factories stood up by the waterfront for delivery and machine water cooling system. Williamsburg was a factories main low income neighbourhood and it still consider as low to middle class nowadays. Williamsburg is located within Brooklyn, connected to Manhattan through Williamsburg Bridge. A number of ethnic communities (Hispanics, Italians, Jews, Dominicans, African American) are living in this area. And it developed the area with different cultures and art. Local arts (graffiti and crafting), hipster and Indie rock music are popular in Williamsburg. Government is trying to develop that area to solve out the low income issue, however developments bring gentrification and rise up another problem – affordable housing.
The Domino Sugar Refinery Factory was sitting next to the Williamsburg Bridge, it was founded in 1816 and shut down in 2004. It played as a major sugar refinery factory that provided 98% refinery sugar for America in 1880’s. It had more than 200 worker worked in the factory at a time, the factory had operated for more than 100 years and generations for both the workers and residences. After the factory closed down 10 years after, May 2014, it opened to public to display an art installation by Kara Walker. The site is currently under a regenerate project by SHoP Architects, part of the factory had been demolished. By seeing those photos, it reminded me a scene from ‘The Intern’. Robert De Niro as a 70 elder was worked in a phone directory company before he retired and he joined a senior intern program to work in a fashion company. That company office was exactly the phone company before regenerated. He pointed out few spots to Anne Hathaway and explain what were there and said he would never forget the layout of the factory as he worked there for 40 years.
‘2737-42. That was the number Robert Shelton punched into a clock at the Domino Sugar factory for 20 years. “As long as you live. You never forget. That’s my number,” Shelton says. And when he returned to the refinery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for only the second time since the factory closed in 2004, this time as a volunteer for Creative Time’s installation of Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety, Or the Marvelous Sugar Baby,” “I had tears in my eyes because it brings back the memories.” ‘ The Atlantic
I’m on working an elevation cad drawing that contain different kind of buildings in Williamsburg as a study to understand more about the building scales and what the place Williamsburg is. I am not sure I would pick the sugar factory as my site, but I am thinking about that area as I want to unpeel that area to see what I will find behind low income and gentrification.