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Adjaye unveils ‘inside-out’ art gallery on New Jersey substation

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David Adjaye has revealed designs for an ‘inside-out’ art gallery on the wall of an electrical substation in Newark, New Jersey.

The founder of Adjaye Associates, which has studios in London and New York, led the project to ‘beautify’ the city’s new substation in Fairmount Heights.

Artist’s impressions of the designs reveal how the perimeter walls of the substation will become a canvas for colourful artwork by local and international artists.

Several tall pillars will create a canopied passageway with a market where the public can walk past and observe the artwork. 

The passageway will also have a courtyard area with sculptures and temporary and permanent installations. 

The city of Newark brought in Adjaye to work on the $25 million substation project after the local community raised concerns about how the station would look.

Adjaye said the art wall project had turned a piece of necessary infrastructure into a ‘civic anchor’ for the Fairmount Heights community.

‘This project speaks powerfully to public architecture’s ability, regardless of scale, to enhance the specificity of a place and to enrich the lives of its users,’ he said. ‘My hope is that it might serve as a model for integrating meaningful public programmes into even the most utilitarian urban developments.’

Newark’s mayor, Ras J Baraka, said: ‘The Fairmont Heights Switching Station shows what can be accomplished when all involved parties, including those in conflict, come to the table to collaborate on solving a difficult problem.’

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