Proposal Transforms Park Space Under the Manhattan Bridge

Friday, October 7, 2011
(Courtesy HAO)

(Courtesy HAO)

Let’s face it, outside of Central Park, Manhattan isn’t known for its abundance of open space. This is beginning to change, however, as in this increasingly innovative architectural age, people are looking to odd, underutilized remnants in the city, from abandoned rail lines to decrepit industrial buildings and toxic waterfronts to create the next amazing public space. One such space sits just beneath the Manhattan Bridge, where Architecture for Humanity has secured a grant and invited nine design firms to take on Coleman Oval Skate Park. Holm Architecture Office (HAO) with Niklas Thormark has taken on the challenge and revealed their program-driven proposal.

(Courtesy HAO)

(Courtesy HAO)

HAO looked to the surrounding Lower East Side and Chinatown neighborhoods for inspiration and the site conditions informed their comprehensive program strategy. Currently shrouded by the massive legs of the Manhattan Bridge, the design seeks to address the park’s lack of exposure by providing opportunities for local artists to create murals, signage, and other installations, giving the park local identity.

(Courtesy HAO)

(Courtesy HAO)

Other program intentions include adding bike paths (above), an elevated dog-run with views to the East River, the opportunity for a pop-up movie theater under the bridge (bel0w), and a space for potential street festivals and markets.

(Courtesy HAO)

(Courtesy HAO)

(Courtesy HAO)

(Courtesy HAO)








At the heart of HAO’s proposal is the skate park. The design combines successful elements of other skate parks in New York City but maintains its originality and affords the opportunity for iconic status by using the existing bridge structures as walls for a “super-pipe.” It’s hoped this new layout developed with skate consultants Shan Reddy and Jack Dakin will not only challenge skaters, but also perform as the stage for a complex design strategy, befitting of the entire local community.

Check out the rest of the proposal:

2 Responses to “Proposal Transforms Park Space Under the Manhattan Bridge”

  1. Josh says:

    Looks like they did a good job with the layout of the overall park. However,it is pretty clear that no skaters were involved in the design of the park itself. Hopefully this is just a rough draft of the park layout and they put some more thought into the skatepark itself. Maybe they will subcontract park design to a skatepark design firm like Grindline, or Californina skateparks? Would be weird if this was the only NYC park not designed by skaters.

  2. stim+dross says:

    Sometimes the best skateparks have no skate ramps at all but ample space and tolerance for such activities. Think the open space in front of the MACBA in Barcelona.

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