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

“Deciding to restore the original windows was more-or-less a decision to compromise on energy-efficiency,” says Joseph. “We offset that by buying into a solar CSA, and currently all of the energy consumed by the building is solar generated.”As more and more city mice head for the hills, a rustic Brooklyn has emerged in the scenic Hudson River towns north of NYC. But industrial Newburgh, across the Hudson from happening Beacon, has until recently never been part of that scene. A once-booming industrial center known for its textile factories, the city was in a deep state of abandonment and decline when Joseph Fratesi and Thomas Fratesi staked a giant claim there. The two are the founding partners of Atlas Industries, a craft-based architecture, design, and manufacturing firm that they founded back in 1993 in the gritty wastelands of Gowanus, Brooklyn. There, they converted a commercial building into an enclave of workshops for artists and makers—and two decades later, decided to do it again, this time on a grander scale in Newburgh.

In 2012, they took over a 55-square-foot dinosaur, an abandoned three-story brick factory built to manufacture worsted yarn. Its hundreds of steel-framed windows had been filled in with cinderblocks—unveiling them has been but one of the ongoing tasks the firm took on to create Atlas Studios, now home to 45 creative businesses, including Atlas Industries itself. In addition to artful urban renewal, Atlas is known for its go-anywhere modular steel shelving. Join us for a look at their now complete and humming Newburgh quarters.

Photography by Dana Gallagher, courtesy of Atlas Industries.

Above: Atlas’s occupies a 15,000-square-foot corner of the vast complex, which is now a creative hub with its own gallery that hosts art shows, concerts, and events. The cinderblock-framed plantings are by Joseph’s wife, garden designer and Gardenista contributor Lindsey Taylor. Read her Gardenista stories here.

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