The Heckscher Building in Central Park was built in 1926 and enlarged ten years later, but lately served the uninviting purpose of storage and maintenance shed for the Central Parks Conservancy. A|N Blog reports that the organization decided that it wanted to revitalize the cooper-roofed and Flemish stone building and chose Salam & Giacalone Architects to tackle the challenge of re-engaging the building but respecting its landmark status, conferred in 1974.
Because the original playground gate had been significantly altered before landmark designation, restoration of a portal would need to respect both the original 1926 design and the 1936 enlargement while still addressing contemporary needs of the Conservancy.
The architects accomplished the Conservancy's goals by moving the storage and maintence space to the building's second floor, and outfitting that space with natural light via the construction of a centrally aligned vertical passage that opens to the sky through an oculus. With the ground floor space cleared, there was sufficient room for a breezeway, allowing the Hecksher Building to become a grand entrance to Heckscher Playground—the oldest in Central Park.
· Central Park Pavilion Restored with Historic and Contemporary Concerns in Mind [A|N]
· Heckscher Playground [CentralPark.com]