Rendering by dub Studios
A parking structure that welcomes trees and flowers
BY LINDA LEUZZI
Maybe Patchogue’s parking headaches can be resolved with Mother Nature in the mix.
The ParkingPLUS Design Challenge, a Long Island Index project of the Rauch Foundation, will be unveiled today at Adelphi University’s Performing Arts Center in Garden City, highlighting four villages, Rockville Center, Patchogue, Ronkonkoma and Westbury and the commissioned architecture firms whose task it was to design transformative parking structures.
Soho-based dub Studios, with an office in Los Angeles, was paired with Patchogue Village’s search for a structure combining the elements of its unfolding downtown Main Street, its arts and entertainment components, and natural environmental beauty.
Architect Michael Piper, a founding partner of dub Studios with Natalia Kashper and Gabriel Sandoval, headed up the design team that rendered a 99,000-square-foot concrete, two-level structure with parking capability on its roof that can accommodate 302 spaces. Stairs and elevators are part of the design.
“It’s like a doughnut and the structure goes around a landscape area that’s in the middle of it,” said Piper. “There are trees in the center of the parking deck; you can walk around it and park. It brings light into the deck so that it feels safe.”
The landscape area in the middle is 25 feet wide by 150 feet long.
The design was specifically targeted for the Church Street parking lot. Piper said the exterior material is a light metal screen that allows air to circulate. While there was no outer buffer, Piper said grasscrete, which implements grassy areas bordered in concrete, either in large green sections or encased in designs, would surround the parking lot, allowing for further usage if needed as well as drainage. “It gives the parking lot a natural quality and keeps the efficiency of your parking lot up,” he said.
But that wasn’t the only major focus, Piper explained. The project, titled “Main Street Brackets: Shared Parking in Patchogue,” utilizes existing village walkways, too.
“We did a plan for the whole village,” he said. “The plan basically provides pathways that utilize the existing alleyways. The way it feels now, you drive to the lot and you’re in the back of the building, but we wanted to extend pathways so it was a kind of front entry. Those pathways would have landscaping along them. The hope would be the local merchants would put out potted plants.”
Piper also suggested kiosks along the paths to the alleys and walkways, offering perhaps the latest coupons for restaurants and retail stores as well as inventive suggestions like this one. “ArtSpace might have a temporary gallery along the way,” he said.
“Patchogue has a lot going on and we were wondering what we could add with residential, the Patchogue Theatre and ArtSpace.”
Ann Golob, director, Long Island Index Project – Rauch Foundation, said dub Studios submitted a winning design in Long Island Index’s 2010 Build a Better Burb competition. “SUBHUB Transit System,” by dub Studios, envisioned a multipurpose commuter train station with shuttle buses that pick up passengers and products at school and take them to the station. “They’re also engaged in academia,” Golob said. Piper teaches at University of Toronto.
“When we were presenting the designs in October, one of the experts we had commented that the locals always know where to park and this takes the local information and makes it available to anyone coming to the village,” Golob said. “You have the very clear signage that could be automated (each parking lot could have a digital sign that could direct people), the designed alleyways that make the paths to the parking area and the possibility of an elevated structure in a parking lot so its pushing what you already have before you conceive a parking structure in Patchogue.”
ParkingPLUS consultant June Williamson, a national expert on suburban retrofitting and a City University School of Architecture professor who worked with Long Island Index, said the idea behind the brackets design “is that you have to take stock of the existing supply that’s not optimally used.”
Gerry Giosa, president of Level G Associates who worked with Patchogue Village on its parking study, signage and meter implementation, took the Patchogue tour with Long Island Index officials last year and provided guidance regarding parking structure costs and fees. “Their rendering is beautiful,” he said. “I was involved in the boring financial things; they got to do the exciting design.”
Golob said the design was gratis to Patchogue Village; “Long Island Index paid each design firm $15,000.”
Deputy Mayor Jack Krieger, who has been marshalling the parking lot signs and meters, commented that when the village was asked what they were looking for at the first meeting with dub Studios, one of his suggestions was that there wasn’t enough green space in the parking lots. “They integrated it,” he said.
Piper pitched two designs, Krieger said. The second one won their hearts.
“Church Street is highly utilized,” Krieger said. “And you really need the spaces over there with The Emporium and the restaurants. We could probably bond the parking structure over 30 years. The number we’ve been throwing around is $6 million including property acquisitions.”
Mayor Paul Pontieri said he and the trustees hadn’t made a decision yet. He’d seen phases of the design, but would view the final version today. The parking meters have already brought in $1,500 in revenue so far, he pointed out at the village board meeting on Monday, and this was with a snowstorm.
“It’s definitely the concept we want to see happen,” he said.
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