2018-07-18 / Features

Relics Of The 1964 World’s Fair Honored For Restoration Design Excellence

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

Restoration projects for two remnants of the 1964 World’s Fair, the New York State Pavilion and the Reflecting Pool, were among the winners of the 36th Annual Awards for Excellence in Design presented by the Public Design Commission. The new Cornell Graduate Hotel and Verizon Executive Education Center on Roosevelt Island was also awarded for excellence in design.

The reconstruction of the Reflecting Pool in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, a project of the city Department of Parks and Recreation, is the first phase of a larger project to adaptively repurpose a series of fountains from the 1964 World’s Fair.

The winning design, by Quennell Rothschild & Partners (QRP), references the original use of the Fountain of the Fairs, an axis of three fountains linking the landmark Unisphere with the Fountain of the Planets. The Unisphere, originally the site of water and light shows for visitors, fell into disrepair and non-use.

QRP’s design plan will ultimately renovate the fountains with water returning to the Reflecting Pool and the Large Fountain and the Center Fountain becoming a sunken theater. The project will cost between $3 and $5 million and has been funded by the Office of the Mayor. Construction will start in September and take about a year to a year and a half to complete.

The New York State Pavilion Observation Towers Reconstruction, also a project of the Department of Parks and Recreation, is a rehabilitation of the 1964 World’s Fair New York State Pavilion providing stabilization and restored lighting, but the design bids submitted were deemed not viable and the city will again solicit bids later this summer. Total funding for the project is between $5 and $10 million and is being provided by the mayor, the City Council and the borough president.

The Verizon Executive Education Center and Graduate Hotel at Cornell University’s Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island is a project of the New York City Economic Development Corporation intended to be the campus’ northern gateway.

Designed by Snohetta, the education center and the hotel are connected structures and the 195-room hotel will be made of metal panels and glass set upon a platform which opens to an outdoor plaza for the community. The lodging primarily will serve visitors from out of town attending business and academic conferences, students and professors from around the world, as well as the general public, according to Andrew Winter, Cornell Tech’s senior director of capital projects. It’s expected to open spring 2020.

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