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Prospect Park's Lakeside 'Is A Work Of Stealth Architecture'

The $74 million Lakeside ice rink complex in Prospect Park was designed to not be noticed. Architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien wanted it to seamlessly blend with the surrounding landscape, and New York Magazine archicritic Justin Davidson says they more than accomplished their goal. He calls Lakeside "a work of stealth architecture, lying low in the landscape like a coulee in the sagebrush, almost invisible until you're well inside." He praises the design for combining the "open-air rustic fantasy" of skating on a frozen pond with "a zone of urban romance." The complex sits on the edge of the lake, with a lawn-topped canopy shielding part of the rink from the elements and providing visitors with "a royal-box view" of the skaters below.

Davidson notes that fusing nature and architecture is nothing new, but says that "Lakeside gives the ancient practice a distinctly New York twist, swaddling a leisure complex in an ever-changing wrap of summer greenery, autumn gaudiness, and snowy hills." The designers worked closely with the park's own landscape architect to design the land in a way that would improve over time. Eventually, the grasses and shrubs will grow in to "shed that bald scrawny-infant look," and the new trees will obscure the canopy even more. The project also restored a long-lost part of the shoreline, bringing the area back to how Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux intended it.
· They Work So You Don't Have To [NYM]
· Lakeside coverage [Curbed]
Photo via OHNY