Like much of New York's waterfront, the Hudson River's edge in Beacon, NY was a critical industrial dock in the 19th century. But now, after decades of being used as a ferry dock, oil terminal, and junkyard, Long Dock Park has been completely transformed from a polluted brownfield site into a sustainably-designed riverfront destination. The Architecture Research Office (ARO) built a new boat pavilion and restored a 150-year-old barn to create an arts and recreation center for Scenic Hudson, both of which are located in a pollution-reducing 15-acre park by landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand.
On the river’s edge, the kayak and boat launch pavilion create a direct connected to the Hudson River. The long, horizontal shape and open design frame the scenic waterway and mountainous horizon, and the flat roof is primed for the installation of solar panels. The sturdy painted steel structure, which holds up to 60 kayaks or canoes and has a dressing room, is built to withstand the elements while still allowing for open views. The corrugated steel structure and wooden deck reflects its natural surroundings.
Built to LEED Gold standards, the renovated 5,000-square-foot barn is now Scenic Hudson’s arts center. ARO preserved the barn’s traditional form and kept as much of the original building as possible, like the barn’s wooden post and beam structure, and for new materials, they used sturdy elements that strengthen the building, like concrete flooring, concrete blocks, and plywood paneling. All of the windows were replaced with high performance windows, large glass doors now better connect the interior with the outside, and a large wrap-around deck provides space for outdoor activities. ARO also added new stairs and an elevator, and they brought all of the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing up to code.
image courtesy James Ewing
“While the barn building aims to achieve LEED Gold certification, the most interesting sustainability story from the project is the remediation of the entire park site—a former industrial waterfront and supply hub for the railroad going back to the 19th century,” ARO Business Development Director Scott Geiger told us in an email.
The waterfront land itself has undergone a serious restoration that brought it back to its natural life after decades of industrial use. Reed Hilderbrand’s goal was to increase public access to the water while restoring the environment. The green space is now home to create wetlands and a restored Hudson River intertidal zone, and the landscaping biologically treats stormwater and cleans the river water. The site has been selected for the Sustainable Sites Initiative, a pilot program that is testing systems for green landscape design.