SO–IL’s arts campus for the Amant Foundation will open in Williamsburg next month

An Arts Center Grows In Brooklyn

SO–IL’s arts campus for the Amant Foundation will open in Williamsburg next month

The Amant Foundation’s central entrance building, complete with offices and a 22-foot-tall gallery space at 315 Maujer Street, under construction in April 2021. (Courtesy the Amant Foundation)

SO–IL’s latest project is on its home turf in Brooklyn, as today the firm revealed a new art campus for the nonprofit Amant Foundation in Williamsburg and a June 5 opening date. The four-building complex will house not only the foundation’s headquarters, but also space for free exhibitions, residencies, events, performances, and archives.

Rather than take up a single unified building, the Amant Foundation “art campus,” as described by SO–IL, will span 21,000 square feet and flank both sides of Maujer Street. The building at 315 Maujer St. will serve as the complex’s main entrance and contain offices for the foundation and galleries. Moving back toward Grand Street, the rhombus-shaped 932 Grand St. will hold more galleries, as well as a cafe and bookstore. Across the street, 306 Maujer (actually comprised of two separate buildings), will include studio space and the Géza, an 1,800-square-foot performance venue that can also be used to screen films.

looking through a pathway
The Amant Foundation’s Brooklyn campus under construction in April 2021. (Courtesy the Amant Foundation)

“With the design of the Amant campus we introduce a more humane grain and texture to the industrial neighborhood,” said SO–IL in a press release. “Both robust and intimate, we believe the complex of buildings will offer an oasis for creative thought and production, as well as an inviting and intriguing environment for visitors.”

Despite the collective nature of the Amant Foundation campus, each building was given its own distinct visual identity by SO–IL to differentiate it from its neighbor. At 315 Maujer, a 22-foot-tall, naturally lit gallery space will welcome visitors to the complex, and the extra height is reflected in the exterior materiality, which shifts from tessellating, rotated brick to an aluminum louver covered volume that regulates daylight. At 932 Grand, what was once a marble shop will become a 2,000-square-foot gallery space clad in scored brick and vertically oriented galvanized steel channels.

Brick exterior of the amant foundation building
Scored brick and semi-galvanized steel will differentiate 932 Grand from its neighbor. (Photo by Naho Kubota. Courtesy SO–IL and the Amant Foundation.)

At 306 Maujer, the two buildings, clad in vertically striated cast-in-place concrete, will enclose a 1,500-square-foot courtyard. The non-Géza structure will hold a library and gathering space for on-site residents at its base and four daylit studios on the second floor.

“The neighborhood is quite industrial,” said SO–IL cofounder and partner Florian Idenburg, “which is why we chose very simple, tough materials like brick, concrete, and steel, but applied in a more delicate manner. The bricks get turned, to reveal the sides or back, creating a unique texture. The concrete peels in and out, to make the volumes softer and catch the light. The industrial grating and metal we assembled into sturdy but elegant edges and surfaces. Together, the environment they create will hopefully trigger curiosity.”

two women in suits, the leader and artistic director of the amant foundation, in front of scaffolding
Amant Founder and CEO Lonti Ebers with artistic director Ruth Estévez on site at Amant in March 2021. (Photo by Lyndsy Welgos/Courtesy the Amant Foundation)

The Amant Foundation was founded by collector Lonti Ebers, a Museum of Modern Art trustee who purchased the Amant site back in 2014. More than just a place to display her collection, the campus is intended to foster artistic growth and put lesser-seen, but just as important, interdisciplinary work on display. To that end, the first exhibition will be a solo show from the Berlin-based Grada Kilomba titled Heroines, Birds and Monsters which will run from June 3 through October 3. Kilomba, whose work has touched on colonialism and intergenerational trauma, will use performance, film, photographs, and sculptures across three of the foundation’s buildings to bring cyclical violence to the surface.

Looking up at a concrete window square
Cast-in-place concrete at the residency studios and Géza at 306 Maujer across the street. (Photo by Naho Kubota/ Courtesy SO–IL and the Amant Foundation)

Although construction of the campus is scheduled to wrap up later this month, the first phase of the Amant Foundation will, as mentioned, open June 3. The inaugural group of research-based residents will be welcomed this September, and all four of the inaugural residents will be given a $3,000 monthly stipend while they broaden their knowledge base and focus on slower, longer-term projects.