THE CUBES, SOCRATES SCULPTURE PARK ADMINISTRATIVE BUILDING
Client: NYC Department of Parks and Recreation
Location: Astoria, NY
Size: 2,640 SF total Interior, 480 SF Shaded Deck
Recognition: Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Design Excellence Award
JFK&M provided MEP consulting engineering design services for the construction of the new Socrates Sculpture Park Administrative Building located on the Astoria waterfront. Known as “The Cubes”, eighteen steel shipping containers are stacked on two levels to form a singular structure. The new building anchors the park’s administration office on-site and creates a multi-functional facility that offers year-round programming. The Project won the DDC Design Excellence Award in May 2017.
The program includes an educational space for up to 70 people, work area, restrooms, conference rooms, and offices. JFK&M reviewed existing utility points of entry to connect electric, water, and sewer lines to the structure and ensure they could accommodate the project’s mechanical areas and program needs. Working with a limited area for the typical HVAC installation, the team incorporated a variable refrigerant flow system (VRF), requiring less structural impact using pipes instead of large ducts and air handlers. The system also provides a superior energy efficiency solution. Ensuring there was adequate power and plumbing for interior design, the team also created the circuiting for site lighting in the landscaped areas.
The concept was developed to place an emphasis on reclamation and adaptive re-use as a reminder to the neighborhood’s industrial past. The building is the result of a joint commission of the NYC Parks Department and the Sculpture Park and will be park’s first permanent structure in its thirty-year history. The project developed after the Whitney Studio Cube was disassembled and removed from the Met’s museum’s sculpture courtyard on Madison Avenue and donated to Socrates Sculpture Park. Two more cubes were added to the original Whitney Studio to house the program, plus an open-air “ghosted” cube where the geometry supports a shading canopy for outdoor workshops. Diagonal, continuous bands of glass along the sides and roof of the structure provide natural light and transparency, offering building visitors a view of the landscape and skyline of Manhattan alongside the view of activities inside.