Coney Island: The Parachute Pavilion Competition
New York: VAI/Princeton Architectural Press, 2007
Editors: Jonathan Cohen-Litant and Zoë Ryan
For almost 100 years, Coney Island was the most popular seaside destination in the United States. Each year, millions escaped the heat of New York City to savor the thrills of the Cyclone roller coaster and Wonder Wheel at the Astroland amusement park. They came to sample an original Nathan's Famous hot dog, witness the first demolition derby, or to take a chance at a game of three-card Monte on the legendary boardwalk. The advent of air-conditioning, concerns about Coney's "tawdry" entertainment, and faster transportation to other beaches hastened the demise of what had become a uniquely American icon of entertainment and a defining terminus of New York at the water's edge.
In an effort to revitalize the area, the Van Alen Institute, in concert with the Coney Island Development Corporation, held the Parachute Pavilion Competition, a contest to design a year-round pavilion in the shadow of the Parachute Jump, a landmark built for the 1939 World's Fair. This publication, Coney Island: The Parachute Pavilion Competition presents all 864 submissions - from the feasible to the fantastic -received from around the world. The winning design by London-based Carmody Groarke Hardie is a mesmerizing attraction in its own right, composed of two provocative trapezoids illuminated by thousands of colored light bulbs. The design respects the historic icon under which it is located but also promises to become an icon in its own right and bring the fun-loving spirit of Coney Island into the twenty-first century. With contributions by Jonathan Cohen-Litant and Zoë Ryan.