Following an extensive environmental clean up of the Harlem River in the mid 1990s, the New York Restoration Project (NYRP) transformed a 5-acre stretch along the toxic waterway in Inwood/Washington Heights into Sherman Creek Park. Now Bade Stageberg Cox (BSC) has been tapped by the NYRP to design a storm resilient pavilion at the shoreline of the park to serve as an outdoor recreation and learning center.
The Brooklyn-based firm’s flood-resistant pavilion, dubbed “Edge Portals,” will be situated on two natural peninsulas where dozens of boathouses once stood. The pavilion, made of weathered steel panels, will consist of a boat storage building and an open classroom. The metal exterior, which provides good sun-shading as well as ample light, will also contain slits to allow for water to easily pass through the two buildings.
“It is a yin yang effect. The buildings form a space between them and frame a view of the river, even from the entry way,” said Timothy Bade, partner at BSC. “The question was how do you position a building so that it enhances the site, your view, and your experience of going there?”
BSC has selected materials that will at once withstand flooding and complement the landscape. “We wanted to find something that had warmth and a sense of materiality,” said Jane Stageberg, partner at BSC.
The classroom will be outfitted with furniture in Southern Yellow Pine and storage spaces constructed out of galvanized steel. In addition, the building will include a skylight and a cistern to collect and recycle storm water for a nearby garden.
Gangways connecting the classroom and boathouse will form a space for a science cove, which will provide direct access to the river for a variety of educational programming.