CHELSEA WATERSIDE PARK PLAYGROUND
New York, NY (2016–2018)
Chelsea Waterside Park Playground offers escape from the urban environment by creating an immersive natural realm for imaginative play.  The play area provides additional recreational space and dense garden plantings in an area of the city that is booming with children and has historically lacked green space.  MVVA worked closely with Friends of Hudson River Park and the local community to reimagine the existing playground, drawing inspiration from the site’s larger context.
 
The new identity for the playground is based in Hudson River fauna and the Chelsea neighborhood’s maritime history, featuring a gigantic pipefish and pier-pile play structure as its iconic centerpiece. Created by Danish play visionaries MONSTRUM, the humorously epic scale of the structure within the relatively small 17,000 SF space sparks spatial imagination and creates a magical wonderland for free play.
 
Material reuse and sustainability were fundamental to the project approach and are highly visible in the finished space.  Beautifully carved limestone cow heads (architectural details from an early 20th-century meatpacking factory) and ornamental granite cartouches (from the old Miller Elevated Highway, precursor to the West Side Highway) were salvaged and repurposed as engaging waterplay features. In another material tie to the neighborhood’s rich physical history, granite slabs salvaged from Pier 54’s headhouse facade are reused across the site as seating and climbing elements. 
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