New York

Idlewild Park Nature Center

Idlewild Park Nature Center
New York, NY

New York City Department of Parks and Recreation
Excellence in Design | Public Design Commission of the City of New York

Designed for New York City’s Department of Parks and Recreation, the Idlewild Nature Center offers classroom and exhibit space in the Idlewild Park Saltwater Marsh in Queens, New York. The Center will perform as both an educational facility and a community center, informing visitors about the significance of the saltwater marshlands which abut the JFK Airport and the Jamaica Bay. The neighborhood is underserved for park facilities with educational programs, and this building will help to address those needs.

By its location and form, the Center tells the “story of water” in our urban habitat, and the building acts like a porch to the wetland landscape beyond. Classrooms, an exhibit hall, and the entry space all frame the views around the site. The roof channels runoff into a rain garden, which in turns flows into a storm surge channel recently created to mitigate flooding. The layered, permeable façade was based on the concept of filtration, and is meant to evoke the surrounding marshland habitat.