Jeffrey Inaba's firm INABA was commissioned by Red Bull Music Academy to transform four floors of a vacant building in New York's Chelsea neighborhood into a model learning environment. Dramatic walls and lighting create unique collaborative work areas in place of the traditional classroom. Curving walls shape distinct spaces in the 38,400 sq ft project. On the ground level the walls extend far into the former warehouse allowing guests unrestricted views across the floor. They reveal a cross section of the activities taking place, which include performances, private workshops, music production, and broadcasting. Below, on the cellar level, the arcing walls of the capsule-shaped lounge are interrupted only to establish long views from the state-­of-the-­art recording studio located at the south end to the open-air patio at the north. On one of the upper floors, the similarly rounded walls enclose eight collaborative music studios. Since learning occurs in different kinds of contexts, the two lower levels are organised to provide a range of spaces for discussion and collaboration. Their central areas accommodate big gatherings like receptions and performances, whereas people can interact for an extended period of time in more personal settings including a living room-like auditorium, radio studio, production studio, rehearsal room, and several lounges. In an interior that is used at all hours, the lighting plays a key role to establish the architectural atmosphere. During the day the central area on the ground level receives generous amounts of natural light from high floor-­to-ceiling windows, while at night it is illuminated by rows of warm-­coloured custom-fabricated neon fixtures. The overall lighting is accented with various feature elements like the yellow neon fixture in the auditorium foyer and a programmable LED system that focuses light on rows of acrylic tubes above the bar. The cellar lounge has a low ceiling embedded with hundreds of linear LED fixtures to create a distributed field of light. The Red Bull New York studios will be used as a space for experimentation. The goal is to share ideas, make things, and test the results. For example, the ground level will serve as an event venue for people to meet and talk, at other times as a working studio for producing content inspired by such discussions, and at others as a gallery where that work is displayed, together producing a feedback loop of trial-­and-­error learning.

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Interior Commercial Offices
United States

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