NEW YORK — With New York City becoming more of a hub for film and production studios, Pratt Institute is doing its part by opening a 15,000-square-foot futuristic facility in Brooklyn.
Designed by WASA/Studio A under the direction of Pratt alumnus Jack Esterson, the complex at 550 Myrtle Avenue is now home to the school’s film and video department. Previously housed in the lower level of an on-campus athletic facility, the modernistic building was a $4.5 million investment. Pratt Architecture professor Haresh Lalvani, whose innovative sculptural work is part of The Museum of Modern Art’s permanent collection, designed a series of perforated metal panels that wrap around the entrance lobby, and the first and second floors. Lalvani donated the artwork and Bruce Gitlin, chair of Pratt’s board of trustees and chief executive officer of the metal fabrication company Milgo/Bufkin, provided the materials at no added cost.
Built with free-span trusses that resulted in 23-foot ceilings and no internal columns, the new building has a 96-seat screening room with a Digital Cinema Package projector and surround sound. There is also a large soundstage that can be converted into two, and a second smaller soundstage with an Infinity green screen. Pratt students will also have access to a sound recording studio with surround-sound capability and two high-end color-grading and post-production suites.
The new location — a short walk from Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard — is meant to enhance the borough’s motion-media sector. Pratt’s new production facility has helped the school double the size of its freshman class for 2015-2016 to about 80 students. Those students stand to enter a burgeoning industry, with the entertainment business forecast to become a $679 billion sector in the next four years compared to $564 billion today, according to Statistta, a New York-based online resource for statistics.
Pratt president Thomas F. Schutte, who is a founding member, trustee and chair of the Myrtle Avenue Brooklyn Partnership, said. “With many important film and video businesses calling Brooklyn their home, the new space will enable us to build even closer relationships with the nearby filmmaking community and generate new academic and professional opportunities for our creative and gifted students.”
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive Carlo Scissura noted that the borough has “emerged as the hot new destination for television and film production,” and that Pratt’s cutting-edge facility “will provide the borough’s booming film scene with an incredible pool of talented graduates and further positions Brooklyn as the top destination for future industry leaders.”