A note to our readers: HollwichKushner (HWKN) is Architizer's sister company. Architizer was cofounded three years ago from within HWKN and now shares an office with the architecture firm. Architizer is proud of its heritage as the only global architecture platform born from an architecture firm and run by practicing architects.
Out of the ashes of a devastating 2011 fire, the Fire Island Pines Pavilion will reopen this summer. The site is divided programatically from top to bottom, with an entry-level official welcome center to greet the harbor's 800,000 ferry passengers each season and a second-story nightclub and terrace, where the sociability of the Pines comes into focus.
"In general, we believe any new nightlife space needs to be novel, so that it triggers curiosity and new types of behavior that makes the experience interesting and lasting," explains architect Matthias Hollwich, principal of HWKN, Architizer's sister architecture firm. Working with Blesso Properties, HWKN has developed a lattice of triangles that presents a geometrically engaging facade. The interior, meanwhile, provides ample open spaces for easy navigation and chance encounters. Everyone's on display (in the best way) on the 2,400-square-foot dance floor, above which hover cascading stadium seats. The club offers a distinctive amenity guests can't find in the boom boom rooms of Meatpacking District meat markets and Hell's Kitchen dance dungeons: retractable skylights revealing views of a starlit night.
Like an architectural chameleon—an analogy by HWKN principal (and Architizer co-founder) Marc Kushner—the Pines Pavilion adapts throughout the day and night. Offering refuge between the casual Welcome Bar and spirited dance floor is the even larger outdoor terrace, which features daily high tea service. Such utilization of unenclosed, air conditioning free space keeps the project's carbon footprint trim.
Clad in modest unfinished wood, the innovative building doesn't force a diva stance among its neighbors. "Almost all houses in the Pines are clad with raw wood, perfectly blending into the natural environment," explains Hollwich. "We made no difference with the treatment of the Pines Pavilion, allowing nature to turn the building silver over time and make it even more part of the community." In deference to post-Hurricane Sandy FEMA flood plane standards, the building is raised higher above the boardwalk than before.
A reinvigorated Fire Island Pines Pavilion will come to represent a nexus of activity in the convivial beach community that's as multifaceted as its new hub. "The new structure is modern and casual, bold and iconic," says Matthew Blesso, CEO and founder of Blesso Properties, the Pines Pavilion's developer. "It is the first thing visitors see when getting off the ferry, and we envision it to once again be the heart of the Pines community.”
"The whole building is a social engine, enabling visitors to have fun, meet new people, and generate memories," says Hollwich. We can't wait to dive in.