What do you get when you take one old bank in upstate New York, two incredibly passionate people interested in both the arts and their community and add a $50,000 Pepsi Refresh Grant? Well that's exactly what happened when The Foundry, in Cohoes, New York, started by Lynne Allard and Jesse Matulis 'greenovated' this old bank building into their headquarters with eco-friendly materials and made it into an awesome new multi-use building for the community at large.
Allard and Matulis’s idea for The Foundry started back in 2005, and they chose the bedroom community of Cohoes, New York for their project. The area, which was once known for its manufacturing of textiles, has declined since its heyday in the industrial revolution and the arts and culture scene became disjointed. The Foundry was started as a way bring the community and the arts together and in the process help invigorate the local economy. In 2005, the partners purchased the Mechanic Savings Bank, which was originally built in 1931, in hopes of renovating it into a thriving environment which would promote the value of art, design and culture. The bank had already undergone a number of renovations and at one point was a jewelry store and an optical lab.
With the building bought, the organization only needed more support and funding to finish out the vision of creating the live/work and community exhibition space inside the bank. Along came the Pepsi Refresh Grant, and The Foundry finally had the capital to set things in motion. This last February, the organization received $50,000, which is going towards the greenovation of their building, as well as administration and revamping their website. As Allard says about the grant, “The grant from Pepsi has moved us forward by about 3 years. Not only because of the specific things we are using the funds for, but more importantly because of the opportunity it has presented us in being able to make connections more easily. We have the ball rolling on five initiatives that we thought would not be possible for three more years.”
The ‘greenovations’ on the 80 year old bank are just about complete and the The Foundry, which now includes 2 live/work apartments, studios, classroom, gallery and performance facilities is almost ready to be open for business. The building in total is 6,475 sq feet, 3,800 of which is commercial space for the organization, while the 2 loft style apartments are available to resident artists through the year. A lot of thought was put into the renovation of the mixed-use building to make the new space useful for the organization, the community and the future.
As part of the greenovation, the entire building received a facelift, infrastructural updates, buildout for the live/work units and include a number of eco-friendly materials. The renovation meets Energy Star standards with high efficiency windows, a new super insulated rubber roof, and Energy Star appliances. Inside the live/work lofts, the floors were redone with bamboo flooring, low VOC finishes were used, original mahogany woodwork was restored, LED lighting was installed and the counter tops were made with a screeded concrete. Work is almost complete on the commercial part of the historic building, and then the organization will be fully operational and open for events.
All photos courtesy of The Foundry