The Parsons Design Workshop is an innovative design and build graduate-level architecture studio that offers pro bono design and construction services to non-profit organizations.
Founded in 1998, its goal is to make a meaningful contribution to a community while providing students with practical experience. Currently in its 17th year, it has evolved from a series of individual short-term projects with various clients to a multi-year partnership with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
This year the NYC Parks Department has identified the Sunset Park Recreation Center and Pool as the new site for the Design Workshop intervention.
The programs offered at the Sunset Park Recreation Center (such as the gym, the computer lab, and the activity room) are not available during the summer months as the space is utilized for locker and changing rooms for pool visitors. This means limited services for the community of Sunset Park during the pool season (June - August).
Additionally, any new structure must respect the existing Landmark building.
To design and build new locker and changing facilities on the pool deck, a model that was successfully implemented at the Highbridge and McCarren pools. There will be two pavilions, one for men and one for women, both which will include family changing rooms for parents with small children of the opposite sex.
The colors and rhythms in the existing Landmark building facade are incorporated into the pavilion walls, and its placement and height ensure that light will still reach the interior of the recreation center.
These new structures will ensure that the interior programs can operate year round providing more services to the community. Additionally, pool patrons will have new, private space to change and store their belongings, improving their overall experience at the pool.
The pavilions complement the Landmark features, adding a new dimension to a historic site.
THE DESIGN WORKSHOP AND NYC PARKS
In 2011, the Parsons Design Workshop and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation began a five year partnership.
The first three years were focused on improving the Highbridge Pool and Recreation center, a public facility in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City.
These projects not only created additional program space to run activities, but also elevated the experience for the recreation center users and inspired other external individuals and organizations to make capital improvements.
SUNSET PARK RECREATION CENTER
The Sunset Park Recreation Center and Pool was a WPA-era project originally opened in 1936, the first of four public pools set to open in Brooklyn at that time.
Though heavily utilized by the community at first, it fell into disrepair and after nearly a decade of neglect, renovations were completed in 1984.
The building was declared a New York City Landmark in 2007, however the facility has still not received any significant upgrades since the mid eighties.