Jane’s Carousel was built in 1922. Having spent most of its time in Ohio, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places and will now begin a new chapter of its long history in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Our project is a pavilion for this carousel.
In the heart of the newly developed Brooklyn Bridge Park, facing Downtown Manhattan, Jane’s Carousel sits between the massive stoned pier of the Brooklyn Bridge and the slender blue steel pier of the Manhattan Bridge, a few feet from the East River. The pavilion’s aim is to be a protective shelter for the carousel, as well as a welcoming public space for the children of the city coming for enjoyment and a fun-filled ride. At night, the pavilion turns into a magic lantern, visible from the surrounding environment: every hour, the horses’ shadows dance on the building’s facades, marking the hour in the way of a city clock.
Dimensions and structure
In plan, the building is a 72 x 72 feet square (5184 GSF). The 50’ diameter carousel is located in the very center of the square, below a circular skylight of equal diameter. The building’s height is 27’ and the floor to ceiling height 20’.
The building’s primary structure is made up of four 2’diameter cylindrical steel columns set back six and a half feet from the facades and tied together by four steel beams located above the ceiling. It sits on a 6 foot high concrete cellar which raises the Carousel floor above the flood line and is used as a passive ventilation device to cool down the building.
The building’s four facades are made up of acrylic panels. The East and West façades are fixed and completely transparent, offering wide open and enigmatically distorted views of the bridges they are facing. The other two facades are fully operable, creating a wide framed view of the river to the North and to the South of the park.
The fixed facades are composed of 4-1/2” thick self-supporting acrylic panels cantilevering from the ground. Each panel has seven 27’ high panels and is separated from the next by a silver foil folded within the joints allowing for expansion of the material.
The operable facades open via a series of folding steel and acrylic doors. Each façade has 18 doors split into two groups of 9, opening from the center outwards. The doors rest on tracks recessed on the floor and they are programmed to open in 4 different positions.
The skylight on the roof is made up of insulated glass units supported by a cable and steel structure, inspired by the pole and cables structure of the carousel.
The pavilion’s ceiling is made up of 3” wide polished aluminum stripes separated by 3” wide voids. The floor is a polished grey concrete. The restricted pathway around the carousel is limited by a curved tempered low iron glass guardrail.
A piece of furniture shaped as a cylinder of carved wood and stainless steel is located at each corner of the space: a rotating counter, a storage unit, and two ticket distributors. The furniture’s wood echoes the one of the carousel platform, and the design aims to reinforce the joyful spirit of the place.
Four 70’x 25’ recessed screens descend at sunset for the light show. The shadows of the carousel’s horses are projected via a series of light fixtures installed in the center. Due to the geometry of the building’s envelope, the shadows grow in size towards the edges of the building.
The light show last for a few minutes every hour, on the hour. One living on Manhattan’s riverfront, one riding the subway home across the bridge, one driving south on the FDR, will know he or she is on time for dinner, as Jane’s Carousel animates on the small Brooklyn Bridge Park in Dumbo.