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Walter De Maria’s Studio 1980

by Walter De Maria, 1935-2013

In 1980, sculptor and artist Walter De Maria purchased 421 East 6th Street in the East Village, a former Con-Ed substation. He transformed the entire four-story building into his permanent studio, maintaining its industrial qualities to contribute to the space’s overall grittiness. Formerly used as a photography studio, the building contains unusual window patterns and extremely high ceilings. De Maria died in 2013, and by January 2014, the building entered the real estate market for $25 million.

Originally constructed in 1919, 421 East 6th Street was one of the first Con-Ed buildings to power the East Village and Lower East Side. New York’s superintendent of buildings originally hesitated to let Con-Ed the building due to the risk of fireproofing and electrical fires in the area. Given the building’s high ceilings and large size relative to the surrounding residential walkups, it may be surprising to learn that the facility could only legally accommodate five workers. In 1963, a zoning alternation permitted the building’s use to be changed to a photo studio and offices.


1980 Walter De Maria buys 421 East 6th and transforms it into his permanent studio
2013 De Maria dies
2014 421 East 6th goes on sale for $25 million

Reference Links

article Walter De Maria’s Grand and Gritty Home
wiki Walter De Maria
article Exclusive | 421 East 6th Street
internal Shining a Light on an East Village Landmark
internal About That "Giant Robot Laboratory" on East Sixth Street