Individual/Serial: A New Architecture for NYC Parks

How does one create a new architecture for New York City\’s public parks? There are over 1,700 parks located on over 27,000 acres of parkland in the city. Within these parks are thousands of small buildings, hundreds of which must be replaced over the next decade. How does one design small buildings that can meaningfully address issues of form, site, and tectonics specific to individual sites and that can also be implemented in serial across the city?During the course of the semester, students will design four small park buildings on distinct and contrasting sites located throughout New York City. The buildings will vary in size from a 600 square foot \’comfort station\’ to an 1,800 square foot visitor\’s center. The small scale and simple program of the buildings will allow a full exploration of material, form and detail. Each building must be developed with three simple constraints: it must be durable, economical and ADA accessible. All else is open for interpretation and exploration. These buildings must form the basis of a serial architecture: an architecture that can be implemented at a large scale throughout the parks of New York City. The serial nature of the project can be developed in many ways. It can be as varied as the design of a pre-fabricated module, the elaboration of a formal strategy, the exploration of design algorithms in response to specific site conditions, or the creation of large scale web of relationships that operates at the urban scale. All approaches will be considered valid if pursued with intensity and rigor. By the end of the semester, the specific serial nature of each project must be developed and represented so that it can be understood and executed by others.