To cap the Central Park Conservancy’s 40-year renewal of Central Park, the nonprofit has unveiled designs to update the park’s north end with a LEED Gold-targeted recreational facility, a new pool, skating rink and other amenities. The $150 million project also aims to repair the site’s damaged ecology and hydrology using environmentally responsible practices. The groundbreaking for the transformative project will take place in spring 2021 and construction is expected to reach completion in 2024.
Designed with input from more than a year of extensive community engagement, the redesign for Central Park’s north end will replace the Lasker Rink and Pool that were built in 1966. The position of the rink and pool will also be changed; the facilities currently obstruct access between the Harlem Meer and the scenic Ravine to the south. In repositioning the pool and the rink building, the waterway will be reestablished and will once again flow overland through the Ravine into the Meer. To reconnect visitors to the water, a curvilinear boardwalk will be installed across a series of small islands and the new freshwater marsh.
In addition to improved biodiversity and landscape integration, the project will feature a new facility built into the topography of the site. The LEED Gold-seeking building will be built with locally sourced, natural materials of stone, wood and glass. Demolition debris will be recycled and reused on site wherever possible. Walls of floor-to-ceiling glass punctuated by slender wood columns will let in natural daylight to reduce reliance on artificial lighting and will create a seamless visual connection to the outdoor recreation areas. The roof will be landscaped to offer additional public gathering space and mitigate the urban heat island effect.
“The fundamental premise of the design derives from the restoration’s leading objective: repairing the damaged ecology and hydrology of the site, a goal that filters through every aspect of the project’s commitment to sustainability and the highest standards of environmentally responsible construction practices,” reads the Central Park Conservancy press release. “By building into the slope to insulate the interior of the pool house, orienting the structure and its overhangs to shade the interior in summer and admit sunlight in winter and providing ‘stack ventilation‘ through the operable glass facade, the design’s passive climate control minimizes the use of energy for heating and cooling.”
Images via Central Park Conservancy