The Steel Plant Studios unifies Marist College's programs in Fine Arts, Digital Media, and Fashion, which is ranked among the best in the world. Designed to give these world-class programs world-class learning spaces, the new building comprises a renovated 12,000-square-foot historic industrial building and a 35,000-square-foot addition of flexible, light-filled studios and classrooms. The Steel Plant is a central element of Marist's master plan, bridging the College's divided campus and providing a much-needed cultural hub for the rapidly expanding East Campus.
The L-shaped addition adopts the industrial vocabulary of the original structure, with oversized factory-style windows and locally sourced, hand-made brick cladding. At the southwest and northeast corners, glass-enclosed spaces project outward from the primary brick volume, shaded by perforated aluminum screens pattered with a textile-like abstraction of the Marist order's insignia. Between the old and new volumes, the courtyard-like Winter Garden has become the heart of the building – and of East Campus, creating a sense of place and community where none previously existed. With its mix of contemporary and industrial vocabularies, there's a feeling that the addition grew over time; its intentionally accretive aesthetic alluding to the school's multi-disciplinary program.
To support Marist's expanding curriculum, which focuses on the practical application of knowledge, the building features professional-tier maker-spaces, digital pattern-making labs, and even a new retail space. The M-Porium is a working storefront where students can gain hands-on experience displaying, marketing, and selling their work. Classrooms and studios also provide practical experiences with cutting-edge technologies and sliding walls that open to create two 70-foot long fashion runways. With its flexible spaces and infrastructure, the new building is designed to meet the needs of students today and tomorrow.