Orange, New Jersey
H.A.N.D.S. is a not-for-profit housing and community development organization, working primarily in the ‘Valley’ neighborhood, which straddles Orange and West Orange. As a part of HANDS’ Valley Arts development initiative, LWDMR has designed the adaptive reuse of this former commercial and warehouse building, along with the adjacent abandoned gas station site, into a cultural and performing arts development center.
The newly renovated facility contains a 99-seat black-box community theater, along with a 40-seat studio theatre and rehearsal spaces for dance, music and repertory theater, a media center, & visual arts gallery spaces. Plans for storefront tenant spaces include a café, a municipal police substation and community preservation office. The exterior of the buildings have been visually enhanced to create a vibrant sense of place on a tight budget utilizing, graphics, signage and lighting. The site plan provides for outdoor gathering and seating, with a sculpture courtyard space, linking the two buildings.