PROFILE: CLAIRE WEISZ The NYS Parks Cabins so credit should be given to those agencies who wanted it to be done right. There was the ambition to create more than just a sidewalk and to create something which was iconic. For inspiration, we looked at some of the beach projects which had been done in Europe and Miami, with wood and hand laid tiles, but none of these were appropriate. Tropical hard wood is not considered sustainable, so we can’t use it in New York. And the maintenance required for hand laid tiles wasn’t viable for a boardwalk of this length. In the end we used sand-coloured concrete planks and created a wavy line pattern along the boardwalk. It reflects the sea with speckled-coloured tumbled glass and glow-in-the-dark aggregate. Graceful steel rails and contemporary seating all add to the experience. Masterplanned to link spaces together, it has become the place for the community to congregate.
The Salt Shed is one of your most iconic buildings, what was the thinking behind this project? Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg made it a top priority to elevate the dignity of civic infrastructure, as well to redirect the longtime city practice of locating this type of infrastructure in less visible neighbourhoods of the city. Our response, with our co-architects Dattner, was to make the small element a precise but crystalline salt rock and the large one a light machine. What appeals to you about urban environments? Cities are the engines of human innovation and activity, so investing in their design reaps huge rewards. But I grew up in a Canadian prairie landscape, so I like super rural locations as well as super urban ones. I like buildings which respond to nature: the better the landscape, the better the challenge.
WXY was charged with the task of designing 10 vacation cabins for Wildwood State Park on Long Island. Unfinished wood is used to create cosy interiors, while the outside is clad with cedar shingles, reclaimed mahogany trim and metal roofing.
Weisz sees cities as ‘the engines of human innovation and activity’, which means that investment in their design will reap huge social rewards
CLAD mag 2018 ISSUE 4