NA­TURE Lab to help trans­form Troy neigh­bor­hood

Pro­gram aimed at rais­ing aware­ness to ren­o­vate, move into larger space

Albany Times Union - - CAPITAL REGION - By Ken­neth C. Crowe II

The NA­TURE Lab is con­tin­u­ing in a re­vi­tal­ized build­ing its mis­sion to bring to­gether art, science and me­dia to help re­vi­tal­ize North Cen­tral, the city’s poor­est neigh­bor­hood, by awak­en­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal aware­ness.

The Sanc­tu­ary for In­de­pen­dent Me­dia has op­er­ated the lab’s pro­grams since 2013 us­ing small quar­ters in a mul­tiuse build­ing at 3334 Sixth Ave. It will move across the street to 3319 Sixth Ave., an aban­doned build­ing pur­chased for $7,500 from the Troy Com­mu­nity Land Bank.

The name NA­TURE Lab is an acro­nym for North Troy Art, Tech­nol­ogy and Ur­ban Re­search in Ecol­ogy. It hosts artists and pro­vides op­por­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple to ex­plore their cre­ativ­ity with projects re­lated to the sur­round­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

Cameron Toler, the New York City-based ar­chi­tect and de­signer for the $250,000 grant-funded project, said it’s been a com­mu­nity col­lab­o­ra­tion to re­gen­er­ate the un­used hulk of a build­ing.

“It’s been great. The project is a chance for peo­ple to co­op­er­ate and de­sign,” said Toler, who is in pri­vate prac­tice and be­longs to the Open Ar­chi­tec­ture Col­lab­o­ra­tive, a so­cial jus­tice group that works with com­mu­ni­ties on projects.

Stu­dents, res­i­dents and vol­un­teers de­vised ways for trans­form­ing the build­ing. Toler ad­vised them to knock down walls on their plans and use their imag­i­na­tions.

“With a build­ing this old, it’s eas­ier than with a well-main­tained build­ing,” Toler said about gut­ting the res­i­den­tial struc­ture to re­pur­pose as a cen­ter for learn­ing and con­nect­ing res­i­dents to their lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment.

There will be dis­play space that could show lead pipes and lead paint so res­i­dents are aware of en­vi­ron­men­tal and health is­sues in their homes and other lo­cal build­ings.

\And there are plans for ex­per­i­ments in­volv­ing wa­ter from the Hud­son River that is just a two-block walk to the west.

The Sanc­tu­ary for In­de­pen­dent Me­dia has been de­vel­op­ing projects since mov­ing 13 years ago into its build­ing, a for­mer Lutheran Church, at 3361 Sixth Ave. The new NA­TURE Lab has been about five years in the works. Con­struc­tion is ex­pected to be­gin this fall and take two years to com­plete.

The space the lab oc­cu­pies at 3334 Sixth Ave. will be con­verted into hous­ing for vis­it­ing artists or in­terns, said Steve Pierce, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the non­profit Me­dia Al­liance that op­er­ates the Sanc­tu­ary.

The lab ties to­gether the Sanc­tu­ary’s work with the me­dia, cul­ture, the en­vi­ron­ment and the com­mu­nity, Pierce said, “We have high hopes for it.”

Will Wal­dron / Times Union

The Sanc­tu­ary for In­de­pen­dent Me­dia plans to de­velop 3319 Sixth Ave. in Troy into a com­mu­nity lab.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.