Subtlety is far from synonymous with horse racing and gaming, so our challenge was to embrace this building typology but express it in new and authentic ways. We set out to reinvent the type: instead of a themed environment in an air-conditioned black box, innovative structure and the unique landscape were the inspirations for a new commercial building for Yonkers Raceway.
Famous for its races for over a century, this site originally featured a beautiful historic wooden pavilion, later replaced by a cable structure with retractable glass. These innovative structures sat atop a dramatic rise giving Yonkers the reputation as the “Hilltop Racetrack.”
The design for a new building draws on the traditions of inventive structure and landscape in radical new ways. A massive steel lattice shell structure, that rises up out of the topography of the hillside and creates a major new entrance and port cochere. The typical enclosed black box has been replaced with a four-story wall of curved structural glass, overlooking a garden to bring light and air into the interior. Restaurants, bars, and lounges connect the different levels and integrate different program elements into a single experience.
The architecture features highly innovative materials, lighting, and art installations. The sculptural lattice shell is clad in ETFE foil, and illuminated from custom LED light fixtures suspended over the surface. The curved geometry of the suspended fritted curtain of glass contrasts with straight walls clad in perforated zinc panels. Eschewing themed environments, the interiors are brought to life by specially fabricated artworks featuring abstract urban environments made of parametrically designed panels. Hundreds of thousands of polycarbonate panels, steel and copper nails, and dichroic plexiglass discs filter and reflect daylight and artificial light to create intricate patterns of light and shade throughout the interior.