Steam valves to steampunk

Artifacts from the Shaw Lane Power Plant welded to sheet metal and displayed as an art piece

Anthony Yuhasz

July 26, 2020

When you think of Heavy Metal as an art form, you might think of some of the great practitioners – Black Sabbath, Metallica and Iron Maiden — but what about IPF? 

Recently, IPF Architect Jeff Kasdorf, in partnership with Katy Litwin, senior associate with Integrated Design Solutions (IDS), the architectural design firm for the STEM facility project, came up with the concept of using industrial elements salvaged from the old Shaw Lane Power Plant in the creation of art pieces for the new STEM building. 


“For everyone involved, the repurposing of the Shaw Lane Power Plant was an incredible opportunity,” Kasdorf said. “Maintaining the character and history of the facility was a design imperative from conception, but the team was met immediately with the challenge of how to balance the need to maximize the program space that drives the renovation with the myriad of possibilities to could showcase that character and history.”  

He added, “At this location, we were able to accomplish this by displaying historical artifacts on vertical walls adjacent to public circulation paths – without sacrificing floor space.”   

Photo of completed STEM art piece installed in the facility

Photo of IPF pipefitters/welders Ryan Pung and Jason Pohl standing in front of the STEM art piece they fabricated


During the demolition of the interior of the old plant, IPF Building Services employees Alan Haas, Nick Walton, Chris Wise and Mitch Haney removed several industrial artifacts that would eventually be worked into the design of the art pieces and placed them into storage. Early this spring, team members from IPF Planning, Design and Construction and IDS sorted through the various pieces and came up with the final composition. 

“IPF pipefitters/welders Ryan Pung, Jason Pohl and student assistant Cole Theis worked on the fabrication of the two 8’x12’ displays, as well as their installation on the second floor of the old plant, adjacent to the north and south STEM entrances,” Kasdorf said. 

For the crew members that were involved in the project, it was a chance to step out of their normal routine and create something that wouldn’t be buried underground or sequestered in a building’s mechanical room. 

“It was a pretty cool job to do,” said skilled trades supervisor Sam Fortino. “Hopefully, it will be there for a few decades for many to enjoy.”