Staten Island Zoo Carousel Enclosure

Tom Sibley

9 Friday

Tour Time: 12:00

Slade Architecture
614 Broadway,
Staten Island

Situated in a park setting covered with mature trees, the Staten Island Zoo is a naturalistic, didactic oasis within a dense urban setting.  A new enclosure for a carousel is the first phase of Slade Architecture’s ongoing master plan for the Children’s Farmstead at the Staten Island Zoo. The challenge was to maximize the impact of the carousel on visitor experience while minimizing the physical impact of the new structure on the existing landscape. The final design is light in every sense: an almost transparent, light-filled gem in the park, sitting lightly on the land, exerting minimal impact on the site and environment.

The master plan analysis led to the location of the enclosure adjacent to the existing concession area, concentrating commercial activity in this one zone in order to protect the park-like perimeter.  The density of mature trees throughout the site presented an enormous dilemma. Though the selected site is the least invasive to existing trees, typical foundations would kill several adjacent mature oak trees.  Extensive investigation led to an innovative foundation system used for board walk structures. Metal pins driven through a diamond shaped pier resting at the surface mobilize the entire footprint of soil between the pins—thereby spreading the load across a large area without introducing large physical elements (like footings or piles) and without digging.

An ETFE membrane roof and movable glass walls with a custom ceramic frit graphic enclose the carousel providing a bright open interior and excellent visibility of the carousel. The materials and operable configuration help heat and cool the space by incorporating existing landscape elements: seasonal changes in the tree canopy provide shade in the summer and allow sunlight to heat the transparent structure in winter.

Tour Guides: James Slade, AIA, IIDA, LEED AP; Hayes Slade, AIA, IIDA, Cofounders and Principales, Slade Architecture

Price: Free (please RSVP here)