Futuristic movie studio designed by Bjarke Ingels moves forward in Astoria

February 14, 2022

All images by Synosis, courtesy of BIG

Construction of a massive $600 million movie studio in Queens backed by actor Robert De Niro can officially begin after the city granted the project a building permit earlier this month. Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Wildflower Studios will measure roughly 775,000 square feet on a five-acre lot in Astoria, next to the Steinway Pianos manufacturing warehouse. The seven-story building is considered to be the world’s first “vertical commercial film, television, and film studio,” according to the architects.

In July 2019, it was reported Oscar-winning actor De Niro and his son, Douglas Elliman broker Raphael De Niro, along with development firm Wildflower and producer Jane Rosenthal, entered a contract for five acres in Astoria with plans to build a production studio. A few months later the team tapped Bjarke Ingels’ firm to lead the design.

Roughly two years later, the project this month received a building permit from the city’s Department of Buildings, allowing construction to move forward, as CNN first reported.

“We are determined to create a world-class content creation campus in Queens,” Adam Gordon, managing partner at Wildflower Studios, said. “It speaks to telling stories in all forms; streaming, AR, VR, and gaming, with a building design that looks toward the future.”

Located along 19th Avenue, the site was owned by piano manufacturer Steinway & Sons and had been used as storage for finished pianos. The property sits within a larger parcel owned by the company, which will continue to operate a factory next to the future studio.

Wildflower Studios involves a “mix of interconnected spaces,” including 11 sound stages, production-support areas, office space, and amenity spaces like a fitness center, cafes, and lounges. The 145-foot-tall building will have a facade of precast concrete panels set at different angles to create “an animated effect” as the sun’s angle changes.

There will be a rooftop with solar panels, two open-air terraces, and a connection to the waterfront, as renderings of the project reveal. A publicly-accessible waterfront esplanade will be built along Luyster Creek. The building is lifted out of the flood plain to allow for parking and loading below it, according to the architects.

Expected to be completed in late 2023, Wildflower Studios is the first ground-up, purpose-built production soundstage in New York City. Queens is no stranger to film production; Astoria Kaufman Studios and Silvercup Studios are both located in the borough.

“We are excited to continue our work with Wildflower to bring film production back to New York City in a way that has never been done before,” Ingels said in a press release.

“The vertical media production village will be home to storytellers working across all mediums – a three-dimensional hub of collaboration, creativity, and innovation. While New York City is no stranger to being the star of many visual stories – the city effectively a character in itself – this first ground-up vertical production stage complex marks a new chapter in the city’s ability to create the stories of our future.”


All images by Synosis, courtesy of BIG

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