parsons partners with nyc parks to improve
sunset park recreation center and pool

New Locker Room and Changing Room Pavilions Mark the Latest Phase in a Five-Year Plan to Identify and Improve Public Spaces Throughout The City

Tours to be offered during NYCxDESIGN May 16 and 17

Parsons Design Lab at Sunset Park

Parsons Design Lab and NYC Parks have partnered to create new locker and changing room pavilions at the Sunset Park Recreation Center and Pool in Brooklyn.

NEW YORK, May 1, 2015 – The New School’s Parsons School of Design joined with New York City Department of Parks & Recreation to create new locker and changing room pavilions at the Sunset Park Recreation Center and Pool in Brooklyn.

Led by graduate architecture students from Design Workshop, Parsons’ innovative design-build initiative, the pro bono project is part of a five-year partnership with NYC Parks to identify and implement improvements in public spaces across the city.

Tours of the site will be given during Parsons Festival and NYCxDESIGN on May 16 and 17, 3-5 p.m. Visitors of "Process:Concept," the Parsons Festival exhibition at WantedDesign Brooklyn, are encouraged to visit the site, which is approximately one mile from the venue in Industry City.

“Through our work with NYC Parks & Recreation, Parsons continues to build upon its commitment to design-led civic engagement—in this case, by improving some of our city’s most important public spaces,” said Joel Towers, executive dean of Parsons. “The project at the Sunset Park Recreation Center and Pool demonstrates the innovation and expertise of our students, who complete this and other projects pro bono.”

The design of the pavilions was inspired by the recreation center, a landmarked building, behind it. The colors and rhythms of the center’s façade are reflected in the pavilion walls, and the pavilion placement and height ensure that light will still reach the interior of the existing building. Roughly the size of three Olympic pools, the Recreation Center (pool) has a maximum capacity of 1,678 people. Last summer, the pool received 78,055 visitors in the three months it operated.

Prior to the completion of the project, most of the programs in the Recreation Center, such as the gym and the computer lab, were not available during the summer months as the space is utilized for locker and changing rooms for pool visitors. By building new locker and changing facilities on the pool deck, the interior program can now run all year round and provide more services to the community. Pool patrons will also have access to a new, private space to change and store their belongings.

“The Sunset Park Recreation Center and Pool is one of Parks’ most beloved and frequently used centers, and with new locker and changing room pavilions, it will serve the Sunset Park community better than ever,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Thanks to the generous partnership with Parsons School of Design, the new pavilions will not only be functional, but also beautifully designed. In a community where the recreation center is so important, a project like this will have a huge impact on people of all ages. We look forward to welcoming the Sunset Park community and to continuing to work with Parsons’ passionate team.”

Following completion of Parsons’ project at Highbridge Pool and Recreation Center in Washington Heights, the NYC Parks Department identified the Sunset Park Recreation Center and Pool as the next site for the Design Workshop intervention. Students began construction in 2014 under the supervision of Parsons faculty member Joel Stoehr and Design Workshop Program Director Alfred Zollinger.

The Sunset Park Recreation Center and Pool was a Works Progress Administration-era project originally opened in 1936, the first of four public pools set to open in Brooklyn at that time. Though heavily utilized by the community at first, it fell into disrepair and after nearly a decade of neglect, renovations were completed in 1984. The building was declared a New York City Landmark in 2007; however the facility has still not received any significant upgrades since the mid-eighties. It provides a valuable service to the community including activities and workshops, and of course, the pool.

The Design Workshop is made possible by Daniel R. and Sheryl Tishman; the John L. Tishman Scholarship for Sustainable Development, Design and Construction; and Douglas D. Durst.

Parsons School of Design at The New School is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century. For more information, please

The Design Workshop provides pro bono architectural and construction services to nonprofit organizations while giving graduate architecture students the rare opportunity to both design and build a community facility. Since its establishment in 1996, Design Workshop has helped meet community-based organizations' needs, ranging from green space to educational and recreational facilities for children. Past projects include Infowash, a laundromat and information center for a Mississippi community devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and Bronxscape, a rooftop garden for a young-adult residence of the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter in the Bronx. The program is currently directed by Alfred Zollinger, an associate professor at Parsons and co-principal of Matter Practice. For more information, visit

Parsons Festival Features an array of exhibitions, presentations, installations, workshops, symposia, gallery openings and performances that celebrate the next generation of artists and designers working in a range of disciplines. The festival, which takes place May 7-22, will be held at The New School’s Greenwich Village campus and at venues throughout New York City including WantedDesign Brooklyn’s 15,000-square-foot showroom at Industry City, 31st Street, Brooklyn. For more information, visit

NYC Parks is the steward of approximately 29,000 acres of land — 14 percent of New York City — including more than 5,000 individual properties ranging from Coney Island Beach and Central Park to community gardens and Greenstreets. We operate more than 800 athletic fields and nearly 1,000 playgrounds, 550 tennis courts, 66 public pools, 48 recreational facilities, 17 nature centers, 13 golf courses, and 14 miles of beaches. We care for 1,200 monuments and 23 historic house museums. We look after 650,000 street trees, and two million more in parks. We are New York City's principal providers of recreational and athletic facilities and programs. We are home to free concerts, world-class sports events, and cultural festivals. For more information, visit


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Media Contacts:

Scott Gargan,
The New School
212-229-5667 x. 3794
[email protected]

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