NXTHVN is a not-for-profit arts 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 will include 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 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.
The new addition’s façade is composed of glass and precast concrete panels with a distinct scalloped profile. 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.
Key People
Christopher Yost
Project Lead

Deborah Berke Partners

Architect, Interior Designer

Aschettino Associates

Structural Engineer

BL Companies

MEP/FP Engineer

B&B Engineering

Civil Engineer

PHT Lighting Design

Lighting Designer


Code Consultant

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Design Award of Honor

SARA New York Council

Honorable Mention - Unbuilt, Cultural

2018 Best of Design Awards


Large-scale plan of building and context.
Ground floor plan.