Although Ryerson Studio masterfully manipulates space in order to produce beautiful, precision architectural models of residential and commercial properties, the company’s need for a full-scale change of venue was very real.
“[Our] main work was being done out of 340 square feet with two windows in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx,” says founder and architect Michael DelPriore, who launched Ryerson Studio in 1986. “Now, in Port Chester, we’ve basically quadrupled our square footage for less than double our former New York City rent.”
DelPriore is referring to his company’s new HQ as of March 1, in Port Chester’s historic Ernest Simons Building, at 181 Westchester Avenue, where Ryerson occupies the top three loft spaces in the building’s tower (sporting more than a dozen windows!). The lowest level of the space houses production equipment and machinery, including the paint booth and Ryerson’s massive laser; above that is a staging area for models. Level two contains the workstations and computers, while the top floor consists of administrative space, meeting space, and a kitchen.
With that floor plan, DelPriore and his partner, Israel Daing, along with a mostly freelance crew (determined by the number of projects going on at any one time), can more efficiently than ever fashion the largely handcrafted architectural models that have made Ryerson a hit among many architects, engineers, and developers of residential and commercial property along the East Coast. Clients have included such marquee names as NBC TV, Johns Hopkins, AT&T, the National Harbor, the Whitney Museum (where Ryerson’s work is on display), the Culinary Institute of America, and even King Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia. Westchester clients include the City of Yonkers, Hudson Harbor, and the Girl Scouts of America.
“Westchester is just a nicer, gentler environment. In the Bronx, everything was a hassle. Parking was a hassle; moving the models in and out was a hassle; traffic was a hassle; the commute was a hassle,” says DelPriore, who graduated from Pratt Institute before teaching there and at FIT. “[Port Chester] is much better for us, and I really look forward to getting to know this community.”