In 2011, Acheson Doyle Partners was engaged by the Archdiocese of New York to renovate a former middle school in the landmark district of NoHo, New York City. The Archdiocese envisioned converting the school and rectory into a conference and arts center that would provide outreach services in ways traditional churches could not.
Named the “Sheen Center” after the Catholic Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, known in the 1950s for his inspiring radio and television shows, the renovated building contains theater spaces; multi-function rooms; guest rooms for visiting Archdiocesan dignitaries; communal spaces and administrative offices. The Loretto, a traditional theater space, and the Black Box Theater were both designed with audio-visual and lighting systems that support a variety of activities. The complex, mixed-use program in a former school had no real precedent; zoning and construction approvals came after numerous consultations with New York City Department of Buildings officials.
On the exterior, a new marquee and sign boxes mark the entrance to the Loretto. Masonry repairs were made where needed, the façade was thoroughly cleaned, and new windows and doors were installed.
The Sheen Center was designed as a series of dynamic spaces that embody the integration of the traditional and the contemporary; an apt metaphor for the mission of the Center itself. Construction of this 30,000 sf facility was completed in early 2014.