Washington Square Park, Park House, New York City

Photo Courtesy of NYC Dept. of Design and Construction

The $8.2-million third and final phase of the city's renovation of Washington Square Park involved replacing three structures in the southwest section of the park with one multipurpose building. Work included building public comfort stations as well as office and support space for the city's parks staff.

The building features a closed-loop geothermal system that provides about 70% of its heating and cooling needs as well as a rooftop solar array that provides about a third of its electricity. The project also included a new dog run with a custom, reclaimed-wood seating structure and water fountains for both dogs and their human companions.

The building design incorporates a brise soleil that reduces summer heat gain while benefiting from the winter sun. It uses reclaimed lumber and locally sourced stone. The project is aiming for LEED-Platinum certification under the U.S. Green Building Council.

Since the park is in a landmark district, the project required significant coordination throughout construction between the team and multiple agencies for successful completion. Because it sits on an historical burial ground, an archaeologist was on call to supervise and provide guidance during the excavation phase. The owner says that, with the equipment for the park's iconic fountain located in the basement of one of the old structures, demolishing the superstructure while protecting the basement and equipment was a delicate task.

The team sized materials to specific shapes including sections of the building's granite exterior, which were cut to size on site to very close tolerances. The building's reclaimed redwood trellis also had to be bent to shape to accommodate the curvature of the building.

Extensive preconstruction outreach was also conducted in the Greenwich Village area to ensure that the structure met community demands.

Key Players

Owners NYC Dept. of Design and Construction; NYC Dept. of Parks and Recreation

General Contractor AAH Construction Corp.

Lead Designer BKSK Architects LLP

Structural Engineer Weidlinger Associates

MEP and Lighting Design BuroHappold

Civil Engineer Michael Wein

Landscape Architect NYC Parks Dept.