The WCNY public television & radio broadcasting headquarters is one of several anchor tenants located in the adaptive re-use of the Case Supply warehouse, a previous manufacturing facility, which had sat abandoned for more than 20 years. Located on a prominent urban edge site, the original warehouse visibly and literally separated the immediate and underserved neighborhood of the Near Westside from the primary area of downtown Syracuse due to its dominant scale.
Originally initiated by a comprehensive community based master plan, the design process fostered a collaborative approach engaging the sites developer, the future owners and tenants, as well as administrators and faculty from the University and members of the local community. During these series of work sessions the design team was able to facilitate and identify an approach for urban development that reconnected the neighborhood with the downtown through a series of open and shared public spaces. These spaces were strategically created by removing areas of the warehouse facility that were either structural compromised, or lacked historical value to promote community collaboration and interaction, allow for interior day lighting and porosity throughout the site. Materiality and color were used in order to maintain the consistency of the complex as a whole. The exterior is finished with a white and neutral color palate allowing for bright color highlights to emphasize key elements for the occupying tenants such as identifying points of entry and signage.
As a major contributor to public education and entertainment, WCNY wanted to reinforce their on-air identity with a new physical community presence that was more accessible downtown. The 55,500 square foot headquarters for WCNY reconfigures the west end of the industrial warehouse incorporating television and radio broadcasting studios, as well as an educational center and a public courtyard. The design blends renovation and new construction, turning the necessary removal of the small span warehouse space into an opportunity to create open courtyards and improve views across the site. As the result of the organization of these public elements and spaces visitors can visually, and physically pass through the site in a multitude of ways increasing community interaction. The building also encourages interaction by serving as a frame for the activities that happen within. Glazing and transparency have been strategically introduced in many of the major production spaces including the television and radio studios offering up views from the public spaces. This allows visitors a unique opportunity to learn about and experience the action going on in and behind the scenes. This mix of broadcast, entertainment and educational uses required careful organization of access and circulation to ensure security for all program components.
The project received LEED platinum certification for its implementation of several social and sustainable design strategies. During demolition 75% of the waste was diverted from landfills accounting to more than 2,500 tons of recycled material. In addition, due to the increased amount of day lighting that was added and the improved thermal envelope performance in new construction, the building uses approximately 40% less energy than a new code compliant building.