Since its completion in 1900, the five-story cast-iron building at the corner of New York City’s Canal and Wooster Streets has seen its share of pivotal moments. It outlived the manufacturing boom it was erected to serve, and witnessed the birth of crucial art scenes in SoHo and then in TriBeCa, along with shifting demographics and at least two pandemics. After a 2018 facelift and a full rethinking of its basement and ground floor courtesy of conceptual minimalists Worrell Yeung, it’s now a 6,000-square-foot home to Canal Projects, a new arts organization devoted to “supporting forward-thinking international artists at pivotal moments in their careers.”
An entry space wrapped in patinated bronze panels greets visitors, followed by a gallery space with a free-standing reception desk by Zachary Taube. Worrell Yeung installed new white oak flooring and painted the public restroom a bold orange, but thankfully preserved the building’s ten characteristic columns, half of cast iron and half of wide flange steel. Behind a gallery wall, the cellar stair leads to a lower level, with a corridor for video screenings and floating wall for film projections. The team exposed the ceiling’s timber joists and masonry foundation walls, all illuminated by a new light cove and steel sidewalk light vaults.
To inaugurate the gallery, the “poetic research unit” Shanzhai Lyric has set up an ersatz office to study the subterranean Canal Street demimondes the building calls neighbors at this particular moment.
Below, see more of the art organization’s new home.