Let’s face it, outside of Central Park, Manhattan isn’t known for its abundance of open space. This is beginning to change, however, as in this increasingly innovative architectural age, people are looking to odd, underutilized remnants in the city, from abandoned rail lines to decrepit industrial buildings and toxic waterfronts to create the next amazing public space. One such space sits just beneath the Manhattan Bridge, where Architecture for Humanity has secured a grant and invited nine design firms to take on Coleman Oval Skate Park. Holm Architecture Office (HAO) with Niklas Thormark has taken on the challenge and revealed their program-driven proposal.
HAO looked to the surrounding Lower East Side and Chinatown neighborhoods for inspiration and the site conditions informed their comprehensive program strategy. Currently shrouded by the massive legs of the Manhattan Bridge, the design seeks to address the park’s lack of exposure by providing opportunities for local artists to create murals, signage, and other installations, giving the park local identity.
Other program intentions include adding bike paths (above), an elevated dog-run with views to the East River, the opportunity for a pop-up movie theater under the bridge (bel0w), and a space for potential street festivals and markets.
At the heart of HAO’s proposal is the skate park. The design combines successful elements of other skate parks in New York City but maintains its originality and affords the opportunity for iconic status by using the existing bridge structures as walls for a “super-pipe.” It’s hoped this new layout developed with skate consultants Shan Reddy and Jack Dakin will not only challenge skaters, but also perform as the stage for a complex design strategy, befitting of the entire local community.
Check out the rest of the proposal: