The Lower Eastside Girls Club’s WGRL Airstream Internet Radio and Sound Design Lab joins an eclectic assemblage of innovative LESGC educational and career training options for low-income teens and families. Spread across three floors and 30,000 sq. ft., these classes range from a digital photography/computer graphics /3D-printing lab, to hands-on BioBase labs, small business training and incubator space (commercial kitchen, bakery, gift shop, café) and, a 64-seat planetarium. The complex lives within a recently completed, 12 story building at 8th Street and Avenue D on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
The Airstream Studio includes both a live room for radio, vocals, and instrument recording, and a control room. It is designed to produce and mix Internet radio programming for the Girls Club’s new WGRL Internet Radio station, sound tracks for student videos and the LESGC Planetarium’s constantly evolving educational presentations, and to record live student performances from the stage of the 2nd floor community room in which it resides. It can accommodate up to 3 students and an instructor in the control room, and another 3 to 4 students in the live room area. It is a serious professional-level studio designed to provide LESGC members with a realistic hands-on recording experience.
WSDG has built recording studios in a basement (Electric Lady), and a duplex penthouse overlooking NY’s Highline (Jungle City), but never in an Airstream Trailer. The compelling challenge was to create a viable studio within the finite dimensions of a vintage (circa 1958) 140 sq. ft. Airstream. The geometry, equipment selection and acoustic considerations presented significant design restrictions. However, experience and resourceful thinking enabled the WSDG design team to develop a perfectly tuned, professionally outfitted, totally unique and extremely cozy recording/production/ broadcast/teaching studio.