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33 Hawley Street
Northampton, MA 01060

Conceptual design

The 25,000 square foot building at 33 Hawley Street will be capable of hosting art in many forms — there will be space for classes, rehearsals, gallery presentations and performances of all sorts. To deliver a facility with low operating costs, the renovations focus on creating a "high performance" energy efficient building. Such buildings have systems that work together to achieve maximum energy efficiency to lower expenses for heating, cooling, and power. 

  • The thermal enclosure, or insulation boundary, is the cornerstone of a high performance building. By adding continuous insulation to the steel-framed building, the Arts Trust will greatly reduce conductive energy losses of heated and cooled air through the building shell. Energy modeling will inform the design phase to determine precisely what level of insulation is practical and cost-effective.
  • Heating, cooling, and ventilation systems will be designed and sized to meet the reduced energy demands. Buildings with excellent insulation typically require less complex, and thus less costly, mechanical systems that are easier to maintain.
  • Lighting systems will be state-of-the-art, and will also support the goal of low energy use.
  • Renovations will create new interior walls, floors, windows, doors, and restrooms. An elevator will be installed, and the electrical systems will be augmented and upgraded. 

Building renovations will be staged over a number of years in three distinct phases.


We take the building as  it now is — a "metal tent" — and create a tight, insulated envelope, transforming it into a highly energy efficient, low maintenance, low operating cost structure. The addition of a donated PV array ensures the affordability of the building in years to come. Interior demolition defines rough spaces for the main stair, elevator shaft, mezzanine, black box and other spaces.  Phase 1 was completed in the Spring of 2017.


We take the building as it will be and create those interior spaces that will support presentation, performance, process and rehearsal at affordable rates, and ensure that select spaces will allow for profitable uses that can underwrite and sustain the affordability required by arts organizations and individuals. Spaces will include a dance studio, a performance/event space, gallery space, workspaces for classes and rehearsals, lobby and finished mezzanine.   Phase 2A includes three distinct work spaces that will accommodate classes, rehearsals, small performances and a media lab.  Phase 2A is being completed in Fall 2017 and will allow the building to be partially occupied.  Fundraising for Phase 2B is ongoing.


In league with community members and organizations, we will develop the black box theater spaces as a vessel for the imagination, such that its design, outfitting and management supports the widest array of creative work imaginable.

Design efforts have been led by Tom Douglas Architects of Northampton, in consultation with the Arts Trust design committee and theater advisors, mechanical and structural engineers, and energy efficiency consultants.