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3 Buildings Making The Most Creative Use Of Space In Their City Neighborhoods

New York

There are normal buildings, and then there are ones whose use of space go above and beyond in inventiveness and purpose. If commercial real estate brokers and other CRE professionals want to dream big for their clients, they will do well by checking out these three buildings making the most creative use of the spaces in the neighborhoods they occupy.

1. The MCA Denver 


In 1996, the philanthropist Sue Cannon and a number of Denver inhabitants financed the establishment of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver. The museum lived in what used to be an old fish market in Sakura Square until 2003, when MCA board of trustees members Mark Falcone and Ellen Bruss donated land in Platte Valley for the MCA to build its own original home. The building opened in 2007, 11 years after its tenant’s unorthodox founding.

British architect David Adjaye designed a 27K SF rectangular edifice with an exterior of black glass, meant to fit squarely on the corner of 15th and Delgany streets in an already-crowded district. The structure is specifically designed to reduce the boundaries between the museum’s galleries and the city beyond the walls, peppered with interior skylights and enormous windows to create a seamless visual transition between Denver and its art.

The MCA's penthouse features a somewhat hidden ramp opening onto a sliding door that leads into the museum. Adjaye also designed a complementary townhouse building for Bruss and Falcone’s personal use.

2. The LAB Miami


One of Miami’s favorite office buildings is nestled in the heart of the city’s Wynwood Arts District. Originally conceived in 2012 as a way to give the neighborhood’s artistic and entrepreneurial personalities a professional space of their own, the LAB is the result of a 10K SF warehouse conversion into a collaborative event venue and office space. Startups and individual artists alike can obtain memberships to join a community focused on helping new engineers, entrepreneurs and designers to build relationships with established mentors and businesses.

The LAB, which stands for "Learn Act Build," has since attracted a WeWork and numerous large organizations, workshops and events. Its meeting rooms are decked out with AV technology, there is campus-wide WiFi and a choice between private offices, personal desks or community space for any member company or individual.

3) Gallery 37 Center for the Arts, Chicago

The Downtown Chicago skyline

In 1991, Maggie Daley and Lois Weisberg of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs created the Gallery 37 job training program in conjunction with the city’s After School Matters organization. The goal was to provide teenagers and young adults the opportunity to take on paid apprenticeships with established Chicago artists through summer, spring and fall programs after school. The program still exists in partnership with many of the city’s public schools in the Center for the Arts building.

The most noteworthy part of the edifice, however, is the Gallery 37 retail store, located in the Center’s Loop neighborhood. The store hosts artwork and media for sale by these very same young Chicagoan artists. The center’s location on 66 East Randolph St. allows visitors to the building the chance to simultaneously interact with and support the work of many of the city’s budding young artists, dancers and painters.

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