June 3, 2005
Images Courtesy Van Alen Institute
and Coney Island Development Corporation
London-based architects Kevin Carmody,
Andrew Groarke, Chris Hardie, and Lewis Kinneir have won a
competition to create a Parachute Pavilion adjacent
to the Coney Island Boardwalks famous Parachute Jump.
The competition, launched in 2004 by the Van Alen Institute,
a New York organization dedicated to improving the public
realm, and by the Coney Island Development Corporation, attracted
over 850 entrees from 46 countries. It is part of ongoing
efforts to revitalize the once-flagging neighborhood, including
a renovated subway station and a new baseball park.
Its the first of hopefully many things to come,
notes Jonathan Cohen-Litant, program manager at the Van Alen
The pavilion will include a 7,800-square-foot, glass-enclosed
structure lit up by a dense pattern of light bulbs, a high-ceilinged
exhibition space, a restaurant, a bar, and a souvenir shop.
The structure will be cantilevered above a public space, providing
shade, and the surface will be multicolored and bright, evoking
the cheer of Coney Islands historic amusement park.
It is a very sensitive and special design, sort of
magical in a way, explains Cohen-Litant. It fits
very well with the history of Coney Island, especially in
reference to the light bulbs.
Carmody and Groarke have collaborated in designing Dolce
& Gabbana stores around the world. Along with Hardie,
they also won Chicagos 2004 Burnham Prize for their
design of a trio of water-taxi stations. Kinneir recently
joined the team.
The Parachute Jump was designed for military training, but
never used for this purpose. Its inventor, James Strong, received
a license to construct and operate the jump at the 1939 Worlds
Fair. The ride was moved to Steeplechase Park at Coney Island
in 1941, and operated as a ride until 1968. The New York State
Development Corporation spent $5 million to renovate the tower