Wyandanch, New York
Architect: Workshop Architects, Inc.
Landscape Architect: OLIN
Owner: The Town of Babylon
In the summer of 2012, the Town of Babylon, New York, celebrated the groundbreaking of the Wyandanch Village development project. Within the larger context of revitalizing the entire village, a quaint plaza began to take form. However, since opening in January of 2016, the effect of this plaza has been anything but quaint. This beautifully detailed and highly functional structure serves as a shelter and unique backdrop for the larger plaza at the forefront of the site. In tandem with intentional programming, this space has brought new life to the village as it lies on the foot path from the train station into downtown Wyandanch.
This park is part of a larger transit-oriented development the town is undertaking to revitalize the area adjacent to a renovated Long Island Railroad commuter station. Nestled within the mixed-use development, the park combines a passive green space with a flexible, hardscaped plaza that provides a venue for summer concerts and converts to a skating rink for winter activity. A canopy of glass shingles and laminated wood beams supported by structural steel tension masts embraces the north side of the concert/skating plaza. This canopy continues the S-curve gesture of the larger landscape design and provides a clear edge under which the programmatic elements of site can be placed. The program is rather simple; a public restroom shed, a ticket and concessions shed and a below grade service space that houses the mechanical needs of the park. The two sheds further reinforce the northern edge of the plaza while not obscuring views to retail spaces across the street. The material palette of the park – black locust wood and board formed concrete – is continued through the envelope of the sheds and is supplemented by a translucent glass system that allows the buildings to glow in the fading daylight but also offers ample daylight for the daily function of the buildings. This project is about providing the space for the emerging activities of an ever-changing community with the architecture serving as a backdrop and the landscape providing a platform for that crucial function.
Recently, the structure was dedicated to Delano Stewart, a community activist who sparked the village center’s regeneration. His dreams and aspirations of developing a strong community heartbeat has been intensely realized since the project’s completion. The park is a welcoming, comfortable, attractive, and vibrant place that provides the ideal platform to share the passions, ideas, energy, and culture of Wyandanch’s community members.
Photos: Kim Muto and Lifetime Photography