Coney island through its remarkable self re-invention and
perpetual ingenuity, preserved the predominantly flat land area at its sort
after seas edge. At bay, developer towers loom at the periphery. At the focus
of this great urban space is the parachute tower. The atmosphere is dramatic
and theatrical evoking the great Sienna Campo.
Taking clues from this existing condition and opportunity
the proposal too wraps a space behind the parachute defining the edge of a
square rather than filling up the site.
The building internally wraps upward from the sea. This
forms the restaurants themed memorable spaces. The restaurant angles and ramps
upward to the bar overlooking the square and out door cinema
From within the boardwalk the cinema seating extends out of
the boardwalk on the occasions of film nights. The cinema seating appears
similar in type to the structure of the tower engaging the user through
resonance with the out of bounds relic.
A stair then continues further on to the roof where a
manmade landscape is found.
Strangely in the background appears the Parachute tower
strangely appearing disconnected from the earth. From here one can follow the
roof back down to under the Parachute where one gets up close to this extraordinary
living relic. Then it is possible to descend the western villa Malaparte
inspired stairs back to the boardwalk square.
But over these systems of circulation exists another pathway
traversing the insides of the building beneath the boardwalk.
So exists a double helix figure eight system of circulation
- all amplifying the sites existing nature as interchange intersection and
potential for public interaction
Taking the system under - the ramp cuts down into the
boardwalk and descends to the carved out Garden with tidal pool. From here the
parachute appears completely different to that seen from the terrace. The
location of the building on the perimeter of the site between the square and
tower allows it to operate as a filter thereby accentuating its character and
making it a relic with continued meaning despite no longer being used as the
From the sculpture garden it is possible to continue on to
many other numerous destinations or be drawn into the exhibition housed and lit
from the board walk structure above.
The new Parachute Pavilion appears as a taught building
skin tight against a frame held
disbelievingly on a series of ziz zag tri columns evoking a parachute at that
moment of landing on earth where the wind collides with the ground and then
escapes the bellows.. - imagery which is not out of place to Coney Island's
illustrious and renegade history
It is essential to understand that the building contains two segregated circulation systems. One serves the exhibition centre program and the second the public circulation system. This vertically connects the carpark to the plaza level and then up to the proposed cable car and bridge. This system is generally open to the elements. It is a continuous extension of the public space.
At plaza level the public circulation runs east west connecting the old Beton Hala to the new. The second circulation system allows the users to pass through a public street. Here one finds an open water garden and glass elevators travelling up and down. The user is free to explore the city and this circulation system is open 24 hours much like a train station or bridge.
Entering the Exhibition Center one travels through the lobby and past the information counter and water garden. This is glassed off separating the gallery from the adjacent public circulation system. The journey continues upwards to the main exhibition space via a choice of circulation paths. One can take one of two glass lifts that also serve as goods lifts. By incorporating the goods lift into the gallery circulation system, rather than passenger lifts, the scale of space is retained throughout the journey. Alternatively one can take the east escalators or the spiral ramp that traverses the water garden space.
Arriving at the exhibition level, one stands on a grated floor and is suspended over the plaza, which is visible through a large void to the east. The main exhibition space is flexible with walls that can be stacked at one end to make a singular volume. These can also be pulled out to arrange the space into a series of smaller interconnected and more intimate rooms. The end climax of this experience is a void, this time overlooking the river, and an elevated view to the north of the Great War Island. Exiting this space one can then relax in hammocks suspended in the relaxing area. Continuing up, a stair circulates about the outer perimeter of the building where the smaller exhibition space at this level is found. Continuing on upwards to the roof a sculpture garden and reflection pool are discovered. This water is collected from the rain. This has a visual use as well as being an integral part of the building’s sustainable systems. In winter the reflection pool becomes an ice-skating rink and an extension of the natural plateau to the east with all of Belgrade in full splendor below. It is a fitting finishing point to the Exhibition experience and even more astounding in the evening. Alternatively to the exhibition spaces found at level one is the Conference Hall. It is a simple volume that is one and a half stories in height (10 metres). It is orientated back to a view of the old city Kosancicev Venac. It is an urban view of the city that exists for those visiting. The theatre can be blacked out.
The Exhibition Centre’s twisted geometries between outer and inner shells are designed to disorientate and confuse. This enables the building to surprise with specific focused views of the city. This adds to the cinematic experience of the building and the journey it offers. It also reinforces the pivotal quality of the site and heightens the drama and experience of the building and city. The building surprises both the person who lives in Belgrade, as well as the traveller.