Randall's Island, in the East River in New York City, is undergoing an extensive redevelopment to improve its 350 acres of public parkland. Public park amenities, particularly comfort stations, are critical additions to the island. The project called for the design of comfort station buildings.
Being comprised of discontinuous parkland bisected by two enormous bridges, the park is not perceived by visitors as a singular place. In addition, the park shares the island with a variety of nonpark uses which only further fragment it. The result is that unlike most large parks in the City, Randall’s Island Park is not experienced in a holistic manner.
As a basic requirement each building was to have toilets for women and men, and a mechanical/janitor’s room. The buildings had to be accessible, durable and safe; and located in different areas of the park. In order to address the brief, we designed a basic prototype with four variations: information booth, food concession, park attendant and one that could be located within a playground. To date, three comfort station buildings have been built; all of the “information booth” variation.
We recognized that the small buildings would provide an opportunity to help to “knit” the various areas of the park into an interconnected whole. Further, because of the presence of so many nonpark structures, we concluded that the design the buildings had to be bold and easily perceivable within the cluttered landscape. The buildings were thus designed as sculptural objects, clad in bright, orange-red metal panels, without differentiation of front or back, wall or roof, to amplify their visual presence. In contrast the interior are comprised of muted grays and stainless steel washed by light filtered through translucent channel glass.
Location: New York, NY, US