Pratt opens new research facility at Brooklyn Navy Yard

People check out Pratt’s new 20,000 square-foot facility at the Navy Yard.
People check out Pratt’s new 20,000 square-foot facility at the Navy Yard.
Photo courtesy of Pratt Institute

The renowned Pratt Institute recently opened a massive research facility at the Brooklyn Navy Yard — joining the other tech-forward businesses and education facilities to set-up shop at the industrial complex. 

With over  20,000 square-feet of space, the new site will give space for students and faculty access to fabrication labs and areas dedicated to exploring the studies of robotics, information visualization, sustainability, community development, environmental sensing, design incubation in rural areas, digital archeology and various other accelerators.

Located inside the northern Brooklyn Navy Yard’s 11-story Building Three, the new addition was first opened to the public on March 10 at the institute’s annual Research Open House. Over 50 university research projects were presented to the over-700 registered attendees.

“We saw people from the local community, local industries — and even people from the Brooklyn Navy Yard came to see their new neighbors. It was incredible, the interest and outreach was very diverse,” said Vice Provost for Research and Strategic Partnerships Allison Druin.

Visitors see some of the new research that will be done at the Pratt facility.
Visitors see some of the new research that will be done at the facility.Photo courtesy of Pratt Institute

The center has been in the works since its conceptualization in 2018. 

Made possible through allocations from Pratt, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the New York City Council, the Brooklyn Borough President’s office and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, the five-year project was first brought to life for student research teams at the end of January.

“From the workforce side of things, as well as economic development, people were very interested because they saw this as a way for people to learn more about learning, and taking research to the next step,” said Druin. “It was quite gratifying to see our local government interested in the possibilities of our partnership with the Brooklyn Navy Yard.”

Strategically placed within the yard’s rapidly growing economic development center, with a multitude of manufacturing and small industry groups situated on the grounds, the institute hopes to utilize the center’s research to work alongside the greater Brooklyn community.

“There’s a few of us that are now academics that are going to be in the yard. When you have industry and manufacturing, that’s wonderful. But to get to industry and manufacturing, you need education and you need research. What we are doing is creating that pipeline to what they have there already, and it’s very exciting,” said Druin.

People use virtual reality headsets at the new Pratt research center.Photo courtesy of Pratt Institute

With nine current research groups utilizing the center for future-driven research — covering diverse topics ranging from ways to live within the planet’s current environmental state to finding nontoxic materials for jewelry — the institute plans to do monthly research showcases to other academic organizations, nonprofit groups and the public. 

Located just blocks away from Pratt’s main campus in Clinton Hill, the new center is aimed toward giving students an opportunity to receive hands-on experience before entering their prospective fields. 

“Doing research asks people to think about the future. It’s going to enable our students not just to learn what is – but they are going to be able to go out there and be leaders in a field because they know what the next step is,” said Druin. “They have created new tools, they are basically the heart of the creation of a new sector of work.”

For more coverage of the Pratt Institute, head to BrooklynPaper.com.