The Harlem River Waterfront is set to receive a major sustainable upgrade based on Bade Stageberg Cox (BSC)'s designs for a flood-resistant outdoor recreation and learning center. The winner of the New York Restoration Project's (NYRP) EDGE/ucation Pavilion Design Competition, BSC’s pavilion was designed as part of outgoing Mayor Bloomberg's initiative to increase storm and social resilience along the city's shorelines. The new development will also offer greater recreational and educational opportunities along the Harlem River waterfront at Sherman Creek Park.
Located in the traditionally under-resourced region and flood plain zone of Inwood/Washington Heights, the envisioned space highlights and adapts to the area’s floodwater lifecycle. Sited on twin peninsulas at the river’s edge, the “Edge Portals” project includes two buildings, an open classroom and a boat storage building. “We chose to site the buildings on the peninsulas where the land interlocks with the river, directly engaging the waterfront and highlighting the relationship between the city and the river,” says Tim Bade, Principal at Bade Stageberg Cox. “Together, the classroom and boathouse form a threshold between land and water.”
To create a buffer against the region’s floodwaters, BSC wrapped the buildings in a perforated weathered steel skin that helps slow the water’s velocity while allowing water to pass through freely. Stormwater runoff will also be collected in cisterns and reused for garden irrigation. The open classroom will feature sustainable elements including a rainwater skylight, educational water tables, and a floating “science cove” classroom that will host a range of activities from wildlife observation to oyster gardening.
In February, the eight firms that participated in the competition will showcase their design work at an exhibition about storm-resilient design at the American Institute for Architects New York‘ Center for Architecture.