Can you describe your design process for the building?
We immersed ourselves into the physical, historical and cultural context of the site, and often worked in the immediacy of the riverside landscape with our laptops and a card table.
The building is a prototype and part of a series of future structures within the park master plan that will share similar characteristics. It was important for us to reinforce a cohesive visitor experience between the diverse activity zones of the park through variations in orientation, geometry, and detailing. The design is greatly influenced by the agrarian and river transportation history of the site, particularly the recognizable imagery of regional tobacco barns and river barges that are frequently visible from the park. It is this playful interpretation of barn & barge precedents that led us to developing park structures that would be both familiar and new.
At the same time, we were mindful of challenges that were unique to this project: a site that is within a flood plain, a highly public program prone to vandalism and graffiti, the importance of visitor safety and security monitoring, and issues of building maintenance. We explored materials and building systems that were common, ordinary and off-the-shelf, and reconsidered their potential to achieve something quite unconventional.