momentum VOLUME 2 Issue 2
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⇐ CONTEMPORARY ⇒ CONTINUING
VOLUME 2 Issue 2
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04. 12. 22.
CLASSIC Blinded Me with Science CONTEMPORARY Coney Island Baby CONTINUING Gimme Shelter
The Center boasts its reinvention.
Science on display: The new home for the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s second largest Hoberman sphere.
his development has helped the surrounding neighborhoods, once gritty and forgotten, to morph from a second-rate alternative to nearby Manhattan into an “amazing place that offers a great live/work/ play lifestyle,” according to Tim Lizura, president and chief operating officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). In the 25 years since LSC opened, hundreds of thousands of residents and tourists have come each year, eager to explore exhibits devoted to the worlds of invention, experimentation, technology, and nature. And about ten years ago, the NJEDA decided that, in the same way that the city of 250,000 people had, the Center needed to more fully realize its potential. “It was time to address
“IT WAS TIME TO ADDRESS THE TYPES OF PROBLEMS THAT BECOME APPARENT AFTER A SPACE HAS BEEN UP AND RUNNING FOR A WHILE,” - Tim Lizura, President & Chief Operating Officer of NJEDA
the types of problems that become apparent after a space has been up and running for a while,” Lizura observes. Chief among those issues was the “endless line of school kids coming into the building through the front door — there just wasn't enough space,” says John Chase, lead designer at EwingCole. “Job one for us was figuring out how to accommodate the great numbers of people arriving at the same
time.” The solution, completed in 2007, was to insert a long, thin two-story building which now acts as LSC’s new face and bridges the existing parking area and the main exhibit space. “You don’t see the connection as you approach,” Chase says. “You just see the new building with the original’s tower peeking out behind it.” “It’s a night and day difference for everyone who experiences the Center,” says Lizura.
Entering a spacious, two-story high lobby, guests feel a sense of energy and movement.
Learning starts upon arrival.
The new lobby is four times larger than that the original and school groups have their own gathering area, speeding entry to programs and exhibitions.
The bulk of the firm’s efforts was dedicated toward improving flow and movement throughout the interior. The addition’s first floor features a grand 25-foot high lobby that offers ticketing functions and a new space for a permanent exhibit, Skyscraper!, as well as the capability for hosting large events. “Changing the circulation pattern and arrival sequence, resulted in a spacious, bright and airy introduction to the Center as well as a reorientation that made the existing building work better,” observes Jeffrey Hirsch, project manager. Concentrating all of the exhibits on the two top floors freed up space for a key development, the opening of the Jennifer A. Chalsty Center for Science Learning and Teaching, which features a large forum, a 100-seat interactive theater, and five laboratory
“IT’S A NIGHT AND DAY DIFFERENCE FOR EVERYONE WHO EXPERIENCES THE CENTER,” - Tim Lizura, President & Chief Operating Officer of NJEDA
classrooms. “This project came about as science and tech programs entered the curriculum with more force than ever before,” says Hirsch. “Yet the city’s school system was financially stretched and couldn’t afford amenities-rich labs. The Chalsty Center offered the perfect solution by providing access to this equipment while increasing visitation by schoolchildren.” Now, as LSC begins to explore the construction of a new science and technology complex that offers a hotel, residences, and even a K-12 school, its place as a critical element in the reinvention of Jersey City seems cemented. “The 2007 expansion of the Center has proven to be a very necessary piece of a much larger puzzle in energizing Jersey City,” says Lizura. To help keep guests oriented, exhibition galleries are arranged in a circular pattern around a central hall area.
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Kitchen 21 design team - Exterior Architect of Record: Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel; Conservators: Kaese & Lynch; Restoration: Pullman Services; Terracotta Replica Suppliers: BVTC; Interior Design: EwingCole.
ecognizing that this barren stretch of land could use a shot of adrenaline, in 2009, the city put into effect new zoning classifications that were designed to boost hotel and residential building. But then the economic downturn hit followed by Hurricane Sandy slamming into the coast — an unfortunate pairing that stalled everything. “Clearly there needed to be a catalyst,” says Karl Frey, executive vice president, land and development for iStar, which acquired the site in 2012 and is now a key developer in the neighborhood. “We were looking for a way to create an anchor that would spur development.”
They conceived a mixed-use project consisting of an amphitheater, a public park, and a year-round restaurant. The 5,000-seat Ford Amphitheater was designed by architect of record Gerner Kronick + Valcarcel Architects (GKV) and opened in the Summer of 2016
⇒ casual dining, and a rooftop bar was designed by EwingCole and opened this Spring. The new restaurant brings back to life the former Childs Restaurant, a Spanish Colonial Revival palace on the corner
“WE WERE LOOKING FOR A WAY TO CREATE AN ANCHOR THAT WOULD SPUR DEVELOPMENT.” - Karl Frey, Executive Vice President, Land and Development, iStar
while Kitchen21, a multi-functional space that includes a 24-seat grab-andgo cafe, a 32-seat bar, a test kitchen,
of 21st street and the Riegelmann Boardwalk, that had fallen on hard times. “When I first walked through the
The rooftop bar, Boardwalk & Vine, has views of both the ocean the famous Parachute Jump Tower.
The design was inspired by the amusement parks that made Coney Island Americaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s playground.
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At the beginning of the Parachute Bar is an artisan’s replica of the sling chair from the Parachute Jump tower.
With 24 lounge seats, The Cafe is meant for those who want to grab easy food to go.
building, its windows had been filled in and it still had muck in it from the hurricane, which had flooded the first eight feet of the basement level,” says Jeffrey Dewey, senior vice president at iStar. “It was hanging on by a thread.”
Once known as “America’s Playground,” Coney Island has had more ups and downs than its iconic teeth-chattering, bone-rattling roller coaster, the Cyclone, which recently celebrated its 90th birthday.
ships, and the god Neptune frolic — she immediately sensed its promise. “We started digging into the area’s history, watching documentaries, and talking with curators at the Coney Island Museum,” she says.
After iStar secured Live Nation as a tenant for the amphitheater, the entertainment company referred the developer to EwingCole, remembering the firm’s designs for two turnaround efforts that bore similarities to this one: the emergency, five-month restoration of the Hurricane Sandy-ravaged Jones Beach Amphitheater on Long Island and the adaptive-reuse of a former metal manufacturing facility in Philadelphia into a Fillmore Theater music venue.
EwingCole’s Shannon Noon, interior designer for the project, had always heard about the legendary destination but never visited it. So, when she first
According to the Coney Island History Project, this imposing showplace was built by the Childs Restaurant chain in 1924 to serve as its flagship. When
“We realized that what was needed to bring Childs back to life and to tie the building into the revitalization of its neighborhood was something on the order of these projects,” says Frey. “And with EwingCole, that’s what we got!”
“WE STARTED DIGGING INTO THE TOWN’S HISTORY, WATCHING DOCUMENTARIES, AND TALKING WITH CURATORS AT THE CONEY ISLAND MUSEUM” - Shannon Noon, Interior Designer
viewed what remained of Childs — a New York City landmark fantastically adorned with a nautically-themed polychromatic terra-cotta facade where seahorses, lobsters, sailing
the cavernous dining hall closed in the 1950s, the building was left abandoned, then briefly reactivated for stints as a candy factory, a warehouse, and even a roller rink. But it wasn’t until this
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The kitchen and pizza oven are in clear view and are treated as design features.
latest project that any real renewed attention was paid to it. GKV brought in Buffalo-based Boston Valley TerraCotta Company, which undertook a restoration of the heavily-damaged exterior, meticulously re-creating hundreds of terra-cotta elements. Then EwingCole’s design team began transforming its interior. Although the interior was also distressed and crumbling, the team was pleased to discover intact architectural features like the original terrazzo flooring, handcrafted circular terracotta medallions and 20-foot arched window openings. The arched windows perfectly frame the soaring “Parachute Jump” beyond, first built for the 1939 World’s Fair then transported to Coney Island. For additional inspiration, the designers looked to the exterior of the building, its color palette and some of the original amusement park lighting for inspiration. EwingCole’s Barbara Kolonauski, project architect for the renovation, fashioned a dramatic 85-foot long walnut bar with backbar features made
Custom brass globe pendant fixtures.
of metal truss work and rivets that echo Coney Islands classic amusement park structures. Custom brass globe pendant fixtures over the bar alluding to the 1930’s era and lit arches that harken to the familiar iconography of arcade lighting found at Luna Park were designed by lighting designer Christy Rogers. These custom elements were more lavish decisions, says Noon, so to offset these costs, the team “had to design
other features that offered maximum impact at minimum cost.” For instance, she says, touches like a laminate bar front that features an embossed texture “still manage to look rich.” The Parachute Jump, which boasts a steeple shape that recalls the Eiffel Tower, became a signature icon for the entire space. Matching a chip of paint that Craig Schmitt and Kolonauski found at the base of the ride, Noon selected the crimson hues of Sherwin
Williams’ “Poinsettia” for the shipping container, and used it as an accent piece that serves as a small kitchen for the rooftop bar. “There weren’t too many opportunities to inject color up on the roof,” Noon says, “so this really helped to punch it up.” Back downstairs, a replica of the sling chair from the Jump presents the perfect photo opp. Elsewhere, kids love clambering in and out of an authentic 1938 bumper car. An eclectic combination of vintage inspired seating and antique accent pieces are paired with reclaimed wood tables and classic wood barstools. Two bold murals hand painted by Holly Mandot and Scott Guion — one inspired by a World’s Fair poster depicting the parachute drop and one that interprets a classic postcard offering greetings from the destination — also contribute to recreating the celebrated carnivallike atmosphere of Coney Island. That’s because the space is meant to offer more than just dining opportunities. An integral part of the restaurant is its ability to allow guests to take part in the action occurring at the next-door amphitheater. “GKV basically built the stage into the
restaurant by carving out a side of the existing building,” says Kolonauski. “So, Kitchen 21 also has a sort of backstage vibe to it.” To enhance this aspect, 5 new 15-foot tall exterior overhead doors were installed into the building and can be rolled up so that as the stage rises, diners can enjoy a unique behind-the-scenes view of the
and exciting to work on.” (The firm is currently working on the Fillmore New Orleans and Fillmore Minneapolis.) EwingCole was “always willing to come up with new ideas that fit, and embraced, our time and cost limitations,” says Dewey. That flexibility and creativity has paid
EWINGCOLE WAS “ALWAYS WILLING TO COME UP WITH NEW IDEAS THAT FIT, AND EMBRACED, OUR TIME AND COST LIMITATIONS...” - Jeffrey Dewey, Senior Vice President at iStar
event. By offering the option of indoor seating, this capability also turns the amphitheater into a four-season venue. “We’ve done hospitality work before, but we had very little experience with standalone restaurants, so why not start with a giant one?” laughs EwingCole’s principal and project manager, Craig Schmitt. “Coming on the heels of the Fillmore this didn't feel entirely foreign, though, and it was certainly very fun
On two feature walls are hand painted murals inspired by old Coney Island postcards.
off, he adds. “The project has done exactly what we hoped it would do. We presented about 40 concerts and events this summer, the spaces have become real community resources for high school graduations and the like, they’ve been a catalyst for new residential development, and more than 200 people from the neighborhood have been hired to work in the amphitheater and the restaurant.”
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The historic Childâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Restaurant building design combines elements of the Spanish Colonial Revival with numerous maritime allusions.
The design of the shelter fits into the context of the “wooded” community.
The use of “open door” frames symbolizes new opportunities.
s they waited for transport between their jobs at Healing Transitions, a long-term recovery and rehabilitation residence, they were often exposed to cold and rain, and forced to stand dangerously close to traffic. “There was no structure to provide any cover for them, and at night when they came back, the bus stop wasn’t very well-lit.” says Tzu Chen, who designed the project. “We saw a need, so we approached Healing Transitions to see if they’d like a proper shelter.” The result is a modern timbered pavilion with plenty of seating, a roof that provides protection from the elements, and solar-powered fixtures that bathe the structure in warm light. The door frames that act as a structural component offer open vistas of the wooded parkland that stretches behind the shelter while metaphorically “looking to the future,” says Chen. To encourage conversation and camaraderie, the designers crafted one long bench at the back of the shelter and positioned it so that it faces two smaller ones. If desired, the smaller seating areas can also provide private spaces for those seeking to be alone. In total, four teams — comprised of architects from EwingCole — participated in a two-round in-house competition that was judged by their colleagues as well as an architecture professor from North Carolina State University, officials from Healing Transitions, and representatives from a local construction firm. However,
the residents of Healing Transitions themselves selected the final design. Besides its functional value, the $30,000 project serves as a model of how designers, community members, and municipalities can work together to provide practical quality-of-life solutions to those in need. “I felt it was very important that the money come locally,” Chen says. Once their
“IT’S DONE A LOT OF GOOD FOR RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ALL OF US IN THE OFFICE PARK— WE’RE LIKE A REAL COMMUNITY NOW.” - Tzu Chen, Project Designer
design was approved, the team approached their fellow tenants at the office park to ask for financial assistance. About two-thirds of which agreed to contribute in some way, estimates Chen. Their fundraising efforts secured the $18,000 needed for costs associated with installing the mechanisms to run the solar array (a local firm donated the
The design frames views of the surrounding landscape.
four panels themselves), purchasing the lumber and metal for building the shelter, and establishing a fund for maintenance (which will be undertaken by Healing Transitions as part of the city’s Adopt-A-Shelter program). A local roofing contractor contributed materials for that portion of the shelter, while EwingCole offered its design services pro bono. Chen even pitched in to help build the shelter on weekends during the three-month construction period. Meanwhile, the City of Raleigh paid for the cost of pouring a new, larger concrete pad to hold the shelter. The city also helped in relocating the site of the shelter to a spot that was better protected from the road. Not surprisingly, the new shelter is a huge success. For one thing, the project encouraged the city’s Transit Program to discontinue installing its typical pre-fab bus shelters in favor of architect-designed ones selected via a citywide competition. The EwingCole office itself received a merit award from the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects. This peer recognition reinforces the notion of “citizen” architects and the value to seeking out community needs. And, best of all, according to Chen, Healing Transitions residents “love the shelter because not only is it safer, warmer, and better lit, but because of the feeling of having their neighbors actually help make it happen. It’s done a lot of good for relationships between all of us in the office park— we’re like a real community now.”