2023 Open City Award

The Powerhouse Arts Team

This year, OHNY is conferring the Open City Award to the Powerhouse Arts design and development team, led by Herzog & de Meuron, PBDW Architects, Urban Atelier Group, Buro Happold Engineering, Ken Smith Workshop, and Silman.

The Open City Award will be conferred at the 2023 Open City Benefit taking place at Powerhouse Arts on May 18, 2023.

About the Open City Award

Each year, Open House New York recognizes a place of singular importance to the past, present, and future of New York City with the Open City Award.

On Thursday, May 18, the 2023 Open City Benefit brought together hundreds of New Yorkers for a festive evening at Powerhouse Arts—a 117-year-old power plant that has been transformed into a contemporary art center and fabrication space on the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.

Launched in 2018 and conferred each spring at the Open City Benefit, the Open City Award honors the team behind a newly opened or opening project that makes a sizable contribution to quality of place. These are the singular projects, often born from visionary aspirations and years in the making, that embody the spirit of openness, access, and connectivity that are essential to New York’s continued growth and preeminence.

About the Powerhouse Arts Team

This year, the Open City Award was awarded to Powerhouse Arts and the competition winning team led by Herzog & de Meuron, PBDW Architects, Buro Happold Engineering, Urban Atelier Group, Ken Smith Workshop, and Silman for their visionary and steadfast efforts to realize what will soon become a world-renowned cultural asset for New Yorkers and visitors alike.

This project has not only restored a long-neglected building and environmentally hazardous site, Powerhouse Arts addresses some of the city’s most intractable, long-standing inequities by providing vital resources and support for artists and local residents. Open House New York commends the team on their commitment to serving New York’s greater creative economy as a responsible neighborhood steward.

“Powerhouse Arts exemplifies a way forward, without having to wipe the slate clean, by building on and enhancing what remains of the past.”

— Philip Schmerbeck, Associate, Studio Director,
Herzog & de Meuron

“The building lends authenticity to the rapidly evolving Gowanus district, remaining a majestic outlier amongst its new neighbors.”

– James Seger, Partner, PBDW Architects

“I hope that the future of Powerhouse Arts is one as a creative hive where makers have the space and support needed for their work, as well as access to the community space as a sort of “open door” for the larger surrounding creative community to come in, connect with them, and learn from them.”

— Ian Booth, Partner, Buro Happold

“Powerhouse Arts symbolizes the value of creativity and willingness to invest in the arts, a critical component of the city’s identity and future.”

– James Palace, Co-Founding Executive Vice President, Urban Atelier Group

“[Powerhouse Arts] truly functions as a hive for creative expression, and that creativity and commitment starts with our very own team.”

– Eric Shiner, President, Powerhouse Arts

“I love the grit of the project, the tough pigmented concrete, preserved graffiti, the asphalt, steel sea wall, gravel, big concrete retaining blocks and wild meadow.”

– Ken Smith, Founder, Ken Smith Workshop
Powerhouse Arts Team


Design Architect

Executive and Preservation Architect


MEP Engineering

Structural Engineering

Civil Engineer

Lighting Design

Landscape Architect

Geotechnical Engineering

Environmental Consulting

Restoration Consultant

Industrial Hygienist

Theatre Consultants

Information Technology

Vertical Transportation

Fire Alarm Expeditor

Expeditor and Code Consultant


Excavation & Foundation

Electrical & Fire Alarm


Ornamental Metal

Plumbing & Sprinkler

Environmental Remediation

Architectural Woodwork

Miscellaneous Metals

Powerhouse Arts and Gemini Arts Initiative

Herzog + de Meuron

PBDW Architects

Urban Atelier Group

Buro Happold Engineering


Philip Habib and Associates

Tillotson Design

Ken Smith Workshop



Eugene Architecture

Monona Rossol




Fire and Building Code Services Inc.


New Roc Contracting Corp.


Centrifugal Electric

Eastern Air Inc.

Workspace 11


Brookside Environmental

PGS Millwork, Inc.

Tetra Corp

About Powerhouse Arts

Powerhouse is a not-for-profit organization committed to creative expression. Housed in a purpose-built facility in Brooklyn, the organization hosts an extended network of art and fabrication professionals and educators who work together to co-create and share artistic practices vital to the wellbeing of artists and the communities to which they belong.