Project: Central Park Harlem Meer Center
Location: New York, NY
Services Performed: Project Manager/Owner’s Representative
Architect: Susan T. Rodriguez Architecture and Mitchell Giurgola Architects
The Central Park Conservancy has committed to a complete redevelopment, replacing the entire facility with a new one that engages the surrounding landscape and supports a broader vision of park use. Located within the curvilinear frame of Olmsted and Vaux’s original design of the East Drive at the northern end of Central Park, the Harlem Meer Center will replace the aging and floodprone facility with a new swimming and skating experience. The existing massive Lasker Rink and Pool facility, which was completed in 1966, was ill conceived in scale and the negative impacts that it has had on the park's landscape and eco-systems, acting as a barrier by blocking the connection and community access between the Meer landscape and the rest of the park and disrupting the flow of water from the Loch to the Harlem Meer. The design of the new facility will be built into the topography of the site along its eastern slope and will be concealed from view from above with a green roof. The new facility will seamlessly be integrated into the exceptional landscape and will be built in the spirit of what Olmstead and Vaux envisioned in their master plan for this rare urban landscape. The new design will provide unhindered access across the north end of the park, by reconnecting the watercourse that runs through the Ravine so it flows freely in to the Harlem Meer and will re-establish the pedestrian path that once ran alongside it. The building will consist of public spaces for gathering, locker rooms, rentals and concessions, mechanical spaces to support the operations of the pool and rink. A new boardwalk will be constructed in the portion of the Meer shoreline adjacent to the facility. The pool will be transformed seasonally into an ice rink. The facility will be open to the general public year-round.
The project will be funded through a public and private initiative. The project design includes many sustainable aspect and will receive a LEED Gold rating.
The grand opening is planned in time for the summer season 2024.
This project was awarded the Public Design Commission of New York's Award for Excellence in Design in 2021.