NXTHVN — an arts and community incubator

New Haven, CT
40,000 square feet
Type: Civic / Arts / Adaptive Reuse
Theme: Transforming Old Buildings / Making & Learning

Project EUI

reduction in energy use compared to the AIA 2030 baseline

NXTHVN is a not-for-profit arts and community incubator founded by artist Titus Kaphar in New Haven, Connecticut. Dedicated to providing affordable workspaces for artists, mentoring local youth, and contributing to the revitalization of the Dixwell neighborhood and New Haven, NXTHVN occupies two former factory buildings and a luminous new addition.

The 40,000-square-foot facility includes professional artist studios, a maker space, co-working spaces, a “great hall” that can accommodate events and performances, a 3D printing fabrication lab, gallery, and a café. The new addition houses studios as well as apartments for artists-in-residence.

The new addition’s façade is composed of glass and staggered gray brick, creating a clear distinction between old and new. Translucent glass at street-level brings natural light into below-grade studios, while transparent glass on the second and third levels opens views out to the neighborhood. A setback creates space for a rooftop terrace. Illuminated at night, the new addition acts as a beacon for the center, and signals renewed investment in the neighborhood.

The design celebrates the found conditions of the old buildings, which originally contained ice cream and laboratory equipment factories. Timber beams, brick walls, concrete floors are cleaned and left exposed, and some industrial elements are retained. The great hall is reopened to a double height space with sawtooth skylights. A former mechanical room serves as a community meeting hall. The café opens onto the street, providing a place for the community to gather throughout the day.

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The new building is a place of not just artists simply making work that goes out into the art world, where people sort of bid and barter for our products as if they were some sort of commodity, but creating situations that would allow those artists to build relationship with students to really impact their life through art making.

Titus Kaphar, Founder & President

Key People

Deborah Berke

Maitland Jones

Christopher Yost
Project Lead


Architect, Interior Designer

Aschettino Associates
Structural Engineer

BL Companies
MEP/FP Engineer

B&B Engineering
Civil Engineer

PHT Lighting Design
Lighting Designer

Code Consultant


Design Award
AIA New York, 2024

Architectural Record
March 2021

Winner of the Adaptive Reuse Category
AN Best of Design Awards, 2021

Runner-up for Best Project of the Year
AN Best of Design Awards, 2021

Design Award of Honor
SARA New York Council

Honorable Mention - Unbuilt, Cultural
2018 Best of Design Awards