RECREATION IN THE CITY
ATHLETIC FACILITY AS URBAN ISLAND
Location: Willet's Point, New York City, New York, USA
The focus of this project was dual-fold: first, to create an urban framework to revitalize the area of Willet’s Point, NYC - currently a derelict district of temporary auto-body shops, and second, strategically position a public recreation facility within the site as the primary catalyst for further urban renewal.
Situated in a special zone in between La Guardia airport and JFK Airport, the area is also the site of CitiField baseball stadium. The primary mode of transportation to and from the site is vehicular, therefore the road infrastructure becomes a critical element in redefining the district.
Instead of weaving the special urban composition of the site back into the adjacent residential neighborhoods, the design augments the unique location by reconfiguring the site into a specialized development zone that serves the twin airports of New York. Within this framework, the recreation facility becomes a hub that provides culture and leisure to locals and travelers alike.
UNIFYING REDUNDANT INFRASTRUCTURE
Initial analysis and breakdown of the roads types revealed that almost 40% of the roads (by length) were ramps and other transitional elements connecting the regional freeways to the local streets. Furthermore almost half of the roadways were elevated. It was clear that the infrastructural maze was created through decades of additive processes without regard for optimization. The first site strategy is then necessarily the minimizing and streamlining of the roadway infrastructure.
PROGRAMMATIC CROSS HYBRIDIZATION
The recreational programs were separated from the community and support programs. Conceptually, each set of program was divided into parallel strips, which then becomes interwoven into the other programmatic set. The resulting intersections and courtyard voids becomes a hybrid space between recreational and community space. The twin parallel grains creates a spatial & processional sequence to which users can easily orient.
The community and athletic complex manifests itself as a series of discrete volumes on the surface, in order to promote further urban development at a smaller, more porous scale. However, to truly accommodate the size requirements of the programs, these discrete volumes are connected in two levels of unified facilities below ground.