Staten Island Zoo Carousel Enclosure 614 Broadway, Staten Island Slade Architecture Our intrepid Archtober team ventured across the New York Bay to usher in the weekend with a visit to the Staten Island Zoo. After a breezy ferry ride (along with some time on the subway, bus, and our own two feet), we met up with James Slade, who, together with his wife and partner Hayes Slade, designed the Staten Island Zoo Carousel Enclosure. Ken Mitchell, zoo director, stopped by to give us some information about the zoo, which opened in 1936 and had 190,000 visitors last year. A master plan developed by Gruzen Samton had called for the carousel to be located near one of the zoo’s entrances, but James and Hayes decided instead to site it closer to the central building and facilities, near the children’s zoo and reptile house, two highlights of the facility. The Department of Cultural Affairs manages the buildings and zoo, while the Parks Department owns the land. All parties involved agreed that it was important to minimize impact on the landscape, which includes many mature trees. They avoided deep excavation work by setting the carousel enclosure on a diamond pier foundation system in which metal pins are hammered into a base to create a pincushion effect. Only one tree was lost to the carousel, leaving a verdant canopy above. Young riders can look up and see the sky through the ETFE roof, which lets in light so that passersby can admire the fine craftsmanship that went into the hand-carved and hand-painted wooden animals. An ingenious system of sliding glass panels allows the carousel to be used year-round. Mark Lombardi, facilities director at the zoo, is especially pleased with its design. He appreciates that in addition to being beautiful, the system is also easily maintainable. The panels slide into place with little effort, and they help keep the environment comfortable in all weather conditions. A playful custom frit pattern alerts visitors to the presence of the enclosure, which might otherwise fade from view, which is exactly the structure’s purpose. As Slade remarked, “it’s a building, but it’s really about having the building disappear to highlight the carousel inside.” The leopards looked like they wanted some attention, so Slade took us over to see the enclosure that his firm had also designed. After spending most of their lives in an indoor exhibit, the leopards are finally free to roam outside in their spacious new home, which was created with environmental enrichment in mind. Climbable trees and deadfall encourage mental stimulation and physical health, while a heated rock by the observation area provides a cozy spot in cold weather. When the leopards want to get away from human eyes, they can retreat to hiding places that were designed into the space. We’ll be back in Staten Island next week to see the newly-opened Staten Island Museum at Snug Harbor. Join us tomorrow for Editions de Parfums Frédéric Malle by Steven Holl Architects Julia Cohen is the Archtober Coordinator at the Center for Architecture.
Posts tagged with "Carousels":
The world’s first festival of traveling vintage French carnival rides and carousels, Fête Paradiso, will make its United States debut on Bastille Day weekend, July 13–14, on Governors Island in New York City. The rare, museum-quality collection of late-19th and early-20th century attractions includes carousels, flying swings, and a pipe organ. Visitors will have the extraordinary chance to interact with the collected works, which will be available for public enjoyment each weekend from July 6 to September 29, 2013. Like a French film come to life, Fête Paradiso features attractions that come from the collections of Francis Staub and Regis Masclet such as a late 19th century bicycle carousel, one of two in the world built in Paris. The extraordinary celebration involves an early 20th century Music-Hall Ball Guzzler, a carnival game that contains life-size caricatures of Josephine Baker, Maurice Chevalier, Charlie Chaplin, the Fratellini Brothers, and other personalities of the era. To enhance the surreal experience, a 1900 bumper car pavilion has been converted into a beer garden, food reminiscent of a French carnival will be offered onsite, and a 1930 children's carousel has been transformed into a music kiosk. A French family of artisans who specialize in repairing and constructing the carousels will scrupulously assemble all of Fête Paradiso’s historic, artisan-crafted carousels and carnival rides. Admission is free, but rides and games cost $3 each.
WXY architecture + urban design has been adding to Lower Manhattan's Battery Park over the years, designing concession stands, a variety of benches, and a fountain, but their latest addition is adding a twist on the usual urban carousel. AN began watching the ocean-themed SeaGlass carousel back in 2006 when it was announced and the Battery Conservancy will be hosting a topping off ceremony for the structure on April 18. The carousel's frame is made of stainless steel, evoking the spiral of a giant sea shell or the ornate ceiling of a cathedral. WXY principal Claire Weisz said the part of the facade now covered in plywood sheathing will be clad in metal panels while other portions will include "smart glass" that can change from transparent to a dark blue tint. The solid areas serve as projection surfaces on the interior where underwater scenes will add to the enchanted effect of riding atop larger-than-life sea creatures like dolphins, clown fish, and turtles. Watch Weisz and co-principal Mark Yoes describe the carousel and other WXY projects in their Emerging Voices address from March 16, 2011. SeaGlass is the the latest in a line of high design carousels in New York, joining Jean Nouvel's Jane's Carousel in Brooklyn Bridge Park.
It's been a couple of week's since Jane's Carousel opened to the public on the Brooklyn Waterfront, allowing us time to reflect on the rainy opening day and see just how the new attraction is being received. It's seems Jean Nouvel's pavilion is a study in contrasts, particularly on cold gloom of the opening ceremony when we first stopped by. We made a short impressionistic collage of our observations including the carnivalesque merriment going on inside the pavilion set against the sober geometry outside. (You might also spot Nouvel himself taking a ride or an overly-excited Marty Markowitz astride one of the wooden horses.) Granted the acrylic-paneled doors of Nouvel's pavilion can be thrown open to the surrounding park, but the celebratory atmosphere seems contained, anchored even. Viewed from across the park, the riverside building takes on the feel of a ferry terminal. Inside, however, the playful carousel offers distorted views through the giant door panels that give downtown Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge a fun-house-mirror effect. Have you been to the carousel yet? What are your thoughts of Nouvel's contrasting design?