The residents of Washington Heights just welcomed a new recreation center and pool to Highbridge Park. Designed and built by Parsons Design Graduate Architecture students, the Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center has been given a modern renovation from its original WPA-era roots. The new center is open year-round, with a multi-use Splash House that can transform depending on the needs of visitors.
The Parsons Design Workshop students wanted to create a flexible space that could be changed up based on the amount of visitors using the recreation center. Their solution was the lightweight Splash House. When the pool is at capacity, Splash House’s sliding doors can close off the locker room, creating additional changing rooms when in need. Another dual feature is the water curtain, which acts as both a shower for rinsing, and also as a water fun feature for children to play under. The structure is made from reclaimed cedar, plywood and translucent corrugation that stretches from the ground and across the roof, flooding the interior with natural light.
The center’s 1936 open-air vestibule will also be getting a face lift, and be closed off to allow the community to use the space year-round. Called In_Flux, the community room will give 2,000 square feet of mixed-use space for programming, classes, or just gathering.
The nearby High Bridge, which has been closed for 40 years, will reopen in 2014, connecting the Washington Heights area with the Bronx. As part of Mayor Bloomberg’s PlaNYC project, the bridge will give Bronx residents direct access to the new Highbridge Park facility.