Brick-red polygonal park buildings reinvigorate building type
Randall's Island Park, located on a 450-acre island in New York City's East River, comprises disconnected open areas that together form one large public park. The NYC Parks Department sought to provide new comfort station buildings as part of the redevelopment of the island.
The designers recognized that as a collective ensemble these minute buildings could serve a critical design function: points of reference for visitors amidst the enormous bridges traversing the island and the clusters of non-park areas (i.e. waste water treatment plant, psychiatric hospital, firefighters training academy etc.) that threatened to render any small buildings imperceptible.
The project attempted to reinvigorate a building type to reflect our current age using contemporary technologies and construction techniques. A prototype design was developed that could accommodate a variety of different functions. Initially, however, only three buildings of the same design have been built containing toilet facilities, information booth and equipment room. The buildings were designed to be minimal, bold and immediately visually graspable as focal landmarks.
Each is a symmetrical polygon with chamfered edges clad entirely in a uniform, brightly orange-red ribbed metal with channel (structural) glass opening (slits) that allow natural light inside. The colour refers both to the archetypal brick park pavilions found throughout NYC parks and to the bright red-orange of miscellanea found in our outdoor environment - traffic cones, 'police' tape, maintenance and service vehicles, outdoor equipment etc. - those things painted to capture one's attention.
As an unexpected counterpoint to the bold exterior, the interior throughout is a calming grey intended to create a soothing environment.