EDGE/ucation Center
Manhattan, NY
Invited Competition, 2013, unbuilt

Design Architect: HOLLER architecture, Tobias Holler AIA LEED AP
Architect of Record: Matthias Altwicker Architect AIA LEED AP
Ecologist: Biohabitats, Inc.
Builder: Greenstreet, Inc.
Structural Engineer: Hage Engineering PC
Sustainability Consultant: YR&G

Design Team: Jamie Abrego, Crystal Eksi, Dan Horn, Michael Koutsoubis

The New York Restoration Project (NYRP), a non-profit founded by Bette Midler dedicated to bringing private resources to under-resourced communities citywide, invited HOLLER architecture, along with 7 other emerging NYC firms, to participate in the EDGE/ucation Pavilion Design Competition to create a state-of-the-art, flood-resistant outdoor recreation and learning center for Sherman Creek Park in Inwood/Washington Heights.

Inspired by this unique site located within the Harlem River’s riparian zone, (the ecologically productive interface between land and a body of water), our proposal is an essay about the relationship between natural and man-made systems, and between earth and water.
Educational area, public lobby and boat storage, are arranged into a narrow, linear structure, hovering above the ground, parallel to the shoreline, engaging the water’s edge, and framing a generous view of the Harlem River. As a gesture of respect for the natural environment, and to inspire visitors to think about the importance of caring for the environment, three dramatic incisions are made into the building structure. Shaped by the land, the structure accommodates an existing tree. By the water, the roof and floor are set back from the existing cove shoreline. By the sky, a sun tracking oculus occupies the lobby.

The pavilion serves as an armature for numerous educational opportunities in, on, and around the structure. The building placement on the site creates several different microclimates and habitat rooms, increasing on-site biodiversity and creating additional laboratories for student observation and study. Constructed out of a simple steel structure on wooden piles, floors and walls are made out of galvanized steel grates to provide a porous and elegant enclosure that is flood resistant, secure, and low maintenance. A green roof with a rainwater catchment system provides 100% of the pavilion’s water needs as well as for landscape irrigation.

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View from water