Posts tagged with "Swimming Pools":

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What is happening to these landmarked fences in a Harlem park?

The Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) this week approved a Parks Department plan to renovate a historic park, but proposed replacement of tall art moderne fencing with a shorter new fence—in keeping with an initiative to make parks more welcoming—was vigorously debated by commissioners and members of the public. At Tuesday's hearing, the Parks Department presented an expansive proposal to spruce up Jackie Robinson Park in West Harlem. The 13-acre greensward, once called Colonial Park, hugs Bradhurst and Edgecombe avenues between West 145th Street and West 153rd streets. Its rolling hills host a swimming pool and bathhouse at its southern end, one of the city's 11 WPA-era pool complexes and the only one built in a minority neighborhood. Designed by Aymar Embury II and Henry Ahrens, architects who worked under then-Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, the Jackie Robinson Play Center, built between 1935 and 1937, is art moderne through-and-through, with its simple brick massing anticipating the work of Louis Kahn. The pool and park perimeter are encircled by fencing; the most distinctive barriers are thin steel posts set between brick piers that match the bathhouse facade. The Parks Department would like to replace those landmarked fences with shorter ones, in keeping with Parks Without Borders, a new program to make parks more open and visually appealing. That program launched in 2015 with eight parks in the five boroughs selected for improvement the following year: Communities nominated parks for facelifts that could include lowering tall perimeter fences or removing them entirely, opening up narrow entrances, and building curb appeal in park-adjacent spaces. At various points in her presentation to Landmarks, a Parks Department representative called the entrances "unwelcoming" and referred to the fences as "giant," "heavy," "fortress-like," and "harsh," but acknowledged that the piers' brickwork matches the bathhouse. The Parks Department wants to remove the eight-foot-high perimeter fence at the southern border, which is bent and broken in places, and replace it with a four-foot-high barrier whose decorative elements borrow from fences elsewhere in the park of an earlier vintage. The agency also raised the possibility, based on its own research, that the southern fences were added at a later date (though the LPC designation report ties their to the construction of the pool and bathhouse). This project would come out of the almost $5 million in capital funds the city has allocated to carry out planned repairs, but that funding is not yet secured. Manhattan Community Board 1o reviewed the plans and supports the proposed changes. The fences were the subject of intense debate at the hearing, with members of the public and some commissioners voicing concern that the proposed fencing just doesn't harmonize with the surroundings. "This would be like replacing moderne windows with Victorian windows in an art deco building," said Patrick Waldo, reading a statement from preservation group Historic Districts Council (HDC). Reducing the height of the piers without reducing their width, HDC argued, would look strange and not dialogue appropriately with the monumentality of the pool complex. The group's statement noted that the wrought iron fence, which borrows from another park fence of a different era, is "stylistically inappropriate," adding that the complex is akin to a total development like Rockefeller Center; changing the details by stretching or shrinking them would compromise the overall design. In his testimony, landscape architect and preservation consultant Michael Gotkin called the fence replacement an "empty gesture." Gotkin, a longtime resident of the Upper West Side and West Harlem, believes that instead of the Parks Department addressing issues like inequality and disinvestment that prevent access to parks, the fences are being lowered for symbolic reasons. By the same logic, his testimony doubted whether the agency would lower Central Park's imposing Vanderbilt Gate or the tall wrought iron fence around the East Village's Stuyvesant Square. "We deserve as much preservation as rich neighborhoods," he said. After the hearing, historian and Harlem resident Michael Henry Adams highlighted a subtext to the planned changes in a historically black and rapidly gentrifying neighborhood where the median annual income hovers around $36,000. "It's just nutty to be talking about these airy-fairy things of making the park more welcoming for affluent white people when to do that, you are diminishing and altering an individual landmark. I think that's wrong." Adams has chronicled Harlem in two books and to works to preserve its history with Save Harlem Now!, a group he co-founded. The Landmarks commissioners, too, had conflicting perspectives on the fence replacement plan. Like every other commissioner, Adi Shamir-Baron favored the removal of chain link fences but called the removal of the larger piers a "strange thing to do." Formally, they dialogue with the monumentality of the building, but for her raised larger questions about their contemporary perception. "There's another discussion here: our new understanding of the heroic language of public work. We are uncomfortable with it. The tension around that is important to think about: What means what to whom?" Commissioner Diane Chapin noted that ideas around how the perimeters of parks should look are always in flux, she was not convinced on the appropriateness of a more ornate fence. Her colleague Michael Goldblum asked if there were other options: Could the piers stay and the fences be lowered? Lower most of the pillars but leave the ones near the entrance intact? "It's within preservation ideology and philosophy to make some changes along the perimeter and not be [a] slave to every possible historic aspect," said LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan, a statement with which Commissioner Frederick Bland agreed. Sybil Young, a Parks preservationist, requested approval from the Commission in light of the fact the project's funding remained undecided. Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan assented and the commission agreed it could approve the work, among other requested changes. If and when the Parks Department has the capital funding for the new fences, it can go back to the LPC for discussion. An LPC spokesperson said that if there is significant new information the commission may hold an additional public meeting. A Parks Department spokesperson said that right now, except for work at the two southern entrances, the agency does not have funding or LPC approval for a new southern border fence or money to reduce the height of the piers. The agency is not actively seeking funding for the southern border portion of the project.
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Four shining light towers mark Los Angeles’s latest public pool

This summer, Lehrer Architects completed work on its latest public park project: the Central Park Recreation Pool in South Los Angeles. Designed to replace an aging aquatics complex, the 1.44-acre project was funded by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, and is infused with Lehrer Architects’ characteristic do-more-with-less architectural ethos. The project, consisting of a refurbished bathhouse and pool, aims to reactivate a vital community gathering spot in what is one of the most park-poor areas of the city.

The bathhouse, a humble structure made of concrete masonry units, is wrapped by a segmented butterfly roof canopy made of tightly folded, corrugated white metal panels. The three roof pitches meet several times over the course of the building’s main entrance on East 22nd Street. At each meeting point, a delicate armature of steel members, including W-beams and square tubing, joins the roof planes. The south-facing exposure, its CMU walls painted bright shades of lemon and lime, gathers and warms the light filtering through the canopies. A longer but similarly articulated form is mirrored about the bathhouse’s central axis, where on the other side it shades the pool deck. At the foot of each of the columns supporting the canopy along this length, the firm has designed broad, monolithic concrete benches. The two benches on either end are cocked a half-turn inwardly, framing the type of communal, yet highly individualized public space that exists far too infrequently in Los Angeles.

Buried deeply into the far leg of an L-shaped site is a tetrarch of 20-foot tall towers, each housing a pair of concrete benches. The towers provide a different kind of social space that is simultaneously more intimate and public than the larger shaded area just mentioned. Shaped like parallelograms and wrapped in sheets of white perforated metal, the towers mark the recreation center’s location in the community during the day, reflecting and catching the sun’s light as it passes overhead. At night, the structures are lit up from within.

During a studio visit to Lehrer’s Silver Lake offices, the principal described the sculptural qualities of the sentinels: “The light and shadow towers work to create a calibrated sense of civic monumentality by relating to the pool, to the larger park, and (most) importantly, to the surrounding neighborhood beyond.”

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What costs $300 to $500 per square foot but disappears at the touch of a button?

Perhaps the most famous disappearing pool is the one in the Beverly Hills High School gym, or maybe it is the one used in the Cirque du Soleil show O, at the Bellagio Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Either way, both will have some serious competition in the new disappearing pool tucked inside an otherwise conventional recreational center in Bonney Lake, Washington, 39 miles outside of Seattle. Belgium-based HydroFloors built the pool for the Seven Summits Lodge clubhouse at Trilogy at Tehaleh, a Baby Boomer residential housing development by homebuilding giant Shea Homes. While the clubhouse and lodge designed and built by Zetterberg Gregory Design and Zetterberg Custom Homes comes in the classic, Pacific Northwest vernacular of exposed wood and timber framing, the pool brings high-tech flexibility to the residential community. In fewer than 10 minutes, the 49- by 29-foot lap pool converts into a floor for meetings, dances, and other events. When lowered, the movable floor “opens” the pool, which can hold close to 44,000 gallons of water. When the floor is raised completely, it hides the pool. The pool floor, which costs around $300 to $500 per square foot, sits on a metal grid supported by Styrofoam blocks and relies on a hydraulic ram and cable system to move up and down.
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Check out this time-lapse video of Roosevelt Island’s colorful hidden swimming pool

Roosevelt Island, that sleepy urban outpost between Queens and Manhattan, hides a brilliant swimming pool that looks like it leapt from the set of one of Nicki Minaj's music videos. Barak Pliskin, founding principal of New York–based Pliskin Architecture, took The Architect's Newspaper on a tour of the pool, part of residential Manhattan Park, on a recent summer morning. His firm, in collaboration with K&Co, has taken the pool's standard-issue concrete deck and invited Andrew Farris, a Wyoming-based artist, to create a gigantic 3D mural. This is the second year an artist has reworked the space; last year HOT TEA presided over the deck. Farris's interlocking geometric piece flows along the pool deck's terraces, cutting pastel ribbons across the concrete. Pliskin estimated it took two weeks and two coats of paint to cover the approximately 8,000-square-foot expanse. The pool itself has capacity of around 50 people, plus space for 240 in one of the many reclining deck chairs. Bobby White, the pool's manager, estimates that 60 percent of the patrons are island residents, and the rest come from further afield. If you'd like to take a dip, day passes costs $35 on the weekdays and $50 on weekends. But you're probably stuck at a desk right now, so get your outdoors fix by watching this mesmerizing time-lapse video of the pool-painting process: https://vimeo.com/171114046 The annual artist-designed project is part of a larger initiative to renovate Manhattan Park's interior and exterior spaces. Colorful hammocks dot a pool-adjacent lawn, and the architects plan to redo the complex's great lawn and playgrounds. The rental complex, which dates to the 1980s, is being renovated gradually by Pliskin with K&Co. The firms plan to tackle the spacious (and very 80s) marble-clad lobby, common spaces, and units as they become available.
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Moon Hoon designs four bright pink pool villas in South Korea

Last month, we covered the fingerprint YDP Tower, a residence planned for Seoul, South Korea. The architect, Moon Hoon of the South Korean firm MOONBALSSO, has designed another colorful and playful project: a series of candy-colored pink pool houses in Miryang, South Korea. Miryang (also called Milyang) is a land-locked city in the south with lots of natural splendor—valleys, two rivers, and the Yeongnam Alps rising in the distance. MOONBALSSO’s pool villa project is in the countryside, a little over 30 miles north of the port city Busan, the second largest city in South Korea after Seoul, known for its giant beaches. The pool villa site—about a third of an acre—is “mainly a flat piece of land on a gentle hill with irregular property lines,” says Moon Hoon. “It is rather isolated which provides an ideal situation for private pool villas for weekend and holidays.” The series of four neon, bubblegum pink pool villas share external dividing walls. The walls are extra high to provide ample privacy. Three of the pool villas each feature a one story house, with lots of glass. At one end, the fourth villa is two stories, with room for more residents or guests. The interiors are all white, in sharp contrast to the bright pink surroundings. The pool configurations are each a bit different, but all have views of the verdant rolling hillside beyond. “Angled walls and floating double walls and girders add sculptural quality to a spatial experience of expansion and visual pleasure,” Moon Hoon says. “The bright pink adds to the festive nature and holiday atmosphere. The greenery surrounding the pool villa emphasizes the pink even more…a contrasting existence, helping to make each other more vivid….” We’re guessing Elle Woods would be an instant fan of the playful and bold aesthetic.      
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Merging Modernity Into Nature: Bjarke Ingels Takes A Trip to the Bahamas

Albany Bahamas Resort Honeycomb Building Architect: BIG + HKS + MDA Location: Albany Bahamas Client: New Providence, The Bahamas Completion: TBD A team comprised of the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), HKS, and MDA has unveiled its design for the Honeycomb building at the Albany Bahamas resort. This 175,000-square-foot private residential building takes its name from its hexagonal facade, which mimics the naturally occurring shapes in the coral reefs found off the shores of New Providence. When completed, it will be the tallest structure on the island. Infinity pools on each level create stunning vistas of the Elysium-like surrounds of the golf resort, connecting guests directly to this manicured world of pleasure. Swimmers on their own private balcony pools can imagine that they are immersed in the marina and the ocean beyond. Summer kitchens reinforce this connection to the natural surroundings while providing all of the comforts of modern technology. “Our design is driven by an effort to maximize the enjoyment of the abundant natural qualities of Albany in The Bahamas: the landscape, the sea, and the sun,” said Bjarke Ingels in a statement. “A honeycomb facade functionally supports the pools making them sink into the terrace floor and provides spectacular sight lines while maintaining privacy for each residence. Drawing inspiration from its coastal setting, the hexagonal design evokes the natural geometries you find in certain coral formations or honeycombs.” The building contains units with diverse floor plans to suit a variety of pampered lifestyles, while the architecture itself melts into the lush flora and fauna of the resort’s grounds. All images courtesy BIG.
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An Inland Beach for Los Angeles’ Silver Lake Neighborhood?

[beforeafter]silver-lake-reservoir-beach-01silver-lake-reservoir-beach-02[/beforeafter] Thanks to new EPA regulations, Silver Lake is saying goodbye to it reservoir. But resident Catherine Geanuracos hopes the community will soon be saying hello to something new: a body of water repurposed for recreation, complete with lap lanes, an open swim area, and a miniature beach. As the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP) prepares to drain Silver Lake Reservoir and the adjoining Ivanhoe Reservoir and reroute the city’s drinking water supply through underground pipes, Geanuracos’s organization, Swim Silver Lake, is urging city officials to transform the area into a destination for serious swimmers and casual beach-goers alike. Geanuracos says that she, like many Silver Lake residents, has often wondered how the Silver Lake Reservoir Complex might be put to public use. “Every time I run [around it], I’m like, ‘why can’t I go swimming in it?’” she said. “It’s an amazing space that hardly anyone has access to.” This fall, when Geanuracos first heard about plans to drain the reservoir, she realized the time for action was here. She launched Swim Silver Lake less than a month ago, at her own birthday party. Over 700 people have signed up online to support the project. Swim Silver Lake will be presenting their proposal to the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council in February. In the meantime, Geanuracos is scheduling meetings with key government players, including the LADWP, the Los Angeles City Council, and the mayor’s office. She recognizes that the novelty of her idea poses a particular challenge. “It’s not like there’s a precedent for how you do this, because we haven’t had this opportunity before,” she said. Geanuracos is also looking for assistance from the local design community. “I’m not a planner, not an expert, but hopefully we’ll find some folks [with the right skills],” she said. “It could be an amazing project for a student team or a young firm.”
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London Firm Wants Swimming Pools in the Thames

London-based firm Studio Octopi has a vision for a system of swimming pools that would make use of water redirected from the Thames.  The proposal comes on the heels of Thames Water's controversial plan to revamp the city's Victorian sewerage system in order to prevent the flow of excess sewage into the river. Octopi developed the project in collaboration with fellow locals Civic Engineers and Jonathan Cook Landscape Architects. What has come to be known as the Super Sewer, the Thames Water initiative involves the construction of massive new tunnel that would reduce by 96 percent the amount of raw sewage currently being ferried into the river on the back of overflow storm drainage. The nearly $7 billion price-tag attached to the project remains a major sticking point. The Octopi proposal places pools at the high water mark at two Sewer construction sites, Shadwell and Blackfriars Bridge.  The positioning of the pools would allow them to be refreshed periodically by tidal flows. Though the fate of the pools is not explicitly linked to that of the Thames Water project, the plan is contingent on a drastic improvement in the river's sub-par water quality. This pair is complemented by a third pool designed to float upon the surface of the river. Concrete decks provide shelter from surrounding tidal currents while also providing seating for swimmers. are also collaborators on the project, contributing the idea to dot the fringes of the structure with vegetation, a step that would theoretically facilitate the eventual incorporation of indigenous aquatic vegetation. The proposal was generated as part of London As It Could Be, a call for new visions for architectural interventions in selected sites bordering the Thames sponsored by The Architecture Foundation and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.
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Parsons Students Making a Splash in Washington Heights

Parsons The New School of Design has recently completed a new pool pavilion called Splash House for Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center. Led by students in the School of Constructed Environments at Parsons, Splash House was designed and developed pro bono by students in partnership with NYC Parks & Recreation as an addition to the WPA-era Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center. Included in the pavilion's construction are new locker areas surrounded by sliding doors that allow the space to be converted into changing rooms during peak hours.  A second component to the project, to be completed by NYC Parks & Recreation, will add a water curtain to function as a play feature for children and station to rinse off.  The Splash House outdoor pavilion allows the adjacent Recreation Center to remain open all year long by diverting pool-goers away from one space and into another. Previously the center would suspend activities over the summer to accommodate the traffic of over 130,000 visitors to the pool. With the newly constructed outdoor pavilion to alleviate the attendance crunch, the Recreation Center can retain its original purpose and offer more activities to the Washington Heights Community all year long. The Parsons students have already commenced work on the second phase of the project called In_Flux for interior renovations of the central area of the Recreation Center in hopes of enhancing the site further for area residents.