By Nigel F. Maynard Recognizing a need for affordable living and working spaces for artists in the Pittsburgh area, Artists and Cities decided to do something about it. The organization converted a former ice factory into affordable workspaces that house an eclectic range of potters, photographers, painters, nonprofit arts groups, and architects.

The Ice House is the second of the group's two buildings, says Linda Metropulos, one of the founders of the group. Encompassing 44,000 square feet, the building retains much of the original details and charm of its former self.

"We wanted to do that for architectural reasons," Metropulos says, "but it also made sense for the budget."

Except for changes in several doorway sizes, the brick and glass exteriors remained intact. Inside, the architect removed all the manufacturing equipment but kept structural elements, floors, roofs, and skylights. A central courtyard with public and semi-public spaces is the heart of the project and makes a welcoming gesture to the community at large.

Spaces range from 406 to 2,475 square feet and rent for about $215 to $1,275.

Photo: Nicholas Traub Photography

Category: Adaptive reuse; Entrant/Architect: Perkins Eastman Architects, Pittsburgh; Builder: Sota Construction Services, Pittsburgh; Developer: Artists and Cities, Pittsburgh

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