Firehouse 12 recently reopened to the public for the first time since 2020! This unique space is a delight of the senses – a thoughtfully designed jazz and experimental music venue, recording studio, and bar/restaurant.
Much anticipated by the community, the Bar at Firehouse 12 is now open Thursdays, Friday and Saturday 6pm-12am – serving phenomenal vegan dishes and frequently sourcing produce from Common Ground’s own regenerative urban farm. Recently, their menu featured our sugar snap peas in an amazing appetizer that let their spring sweetness shine! Chef Mark Scialabba has also represented Firehouse 12 at our beloved community event Feast from the Fields for many years. You might remember how he revolutionized celery in his celery salad dish served over a polenta cake at Feast ’22!
Firehouse 12 closed to the public in March 2020, and then in September 2021, the historic building experienced extensive water damage from heavy rains during Hurricane Ida. Owner Nick Lloyd turned this unfortunate event into an opportunity, seizing the moment to renovate the recording studio/performance space for the first time in 20 years. He brought in local architecture firm Gray Organschi who he worked with when first transforming the building into a recording studio, performance venue and bar in the early 2000s. As the name suggests, Firehouse 12 was once a fire station, originally built in 1905. Lloyd hired Gray Organschi to refurbish the building when he originally bought it after it had been abandoned for decades.
“One of the most environmentally sustainable things a person can do is to use an old building instead of tearing it down. Nick’s saving of the building 20 years ago was a commitment to really forward thinking regenerative building,” says Lisa Gray, founder and Principal at Gray Organschi.
Gray Organschi specializes in low-impact ecologically-conscious construction and building techniques, combined with award winning design. In addition to their work on Firehouse 12, Gray Organschi also built Common Ground’s iconic Springside building, another example of a beautiful, sustainable, community gathering space in New Haven!
For the recent rejuvenation of the space in 2022, Lloyd & Gray Organschi, along with Walters-Storyk Design Group, set out to improve the sound in the recording studio/performance venue, and refresh the appearance. They collaborated with a THIRD long-time Common Ground supporter, The Westmount Group, who brought “tremendous craftsmanship to a really demanding woodworking scenario,” says Gray.
In order to create a different sound that was more live, with a different kind of resonance, Lloyd decided to “replace the fabric with wood, lots and lots of wood,” he said in a recent interview with the New Haven Independent. The updated space also now has hanging petals that contribute to both the new sound and look, as well as a silent HVAC system that won’t interfere with recording. It was a complex, intricate project requiring intensive coordination. “The vision and collaboration were so impressive, and it worked out so well – everyone loves the sound,” says Jeff Carter of The Westmount Group.
Firehouse 12 just wrapped up a spring concert series. Stay tuned for their next event so you can check out this gorgeous project for yourself! In the meantime, be sure to check out The Bar at Firehouse 12 for locally-sourced vegan eats, keep Gray Organschi and The Westmount Group in mind for sustainable architecture and woodworking projects, and visit Common Ground’s urban farm campus for Open Farm Days, every Saturday 10AM-2PM at 358 Springside Avenue New Haven, CT 06515.