Located in East Stroudsburg Pennsylvania, this site incorporates
both building and landscape. Built in the late 1890' s, the 60,000
square foot International Boiler Works (IBW) factory is situated
on roughly 6 acres adjacent to the Lackawanna train tracks. Although
freight trains currently dominate the Lackawanna line, regional
passenger trains will eventually be incorporated. Unfortunately,
the city intends to demolish the IBW building and replace it with
a 60,000 square foot 'big-box' building with no tenant to occupy
it and no intent for public use.
The IBW property is situated within a recently
designated Keystone Innovation Zone, an Pennsylvania Department
of Community & Economic
Development initiative intended to spark partnerships between intuitions
of higher education, venture capitalists, businesses and other
towards the realization of development opportunities as yet unimagined.
East Stroudsburg University with strong bio-tech and information
technology programs is a potential KIZ partner for the numerous
businesses and arts organizations in the township.
The abandoned IBM building shell has been appropriated
by the town’s
myriad biking and skate boarding youth. East Stroudsburg does not
allow bikes into any of its public parks, leaving no place for
to safely practice, gather, and ride. Thus, the industrial and
largely abandoned outskirts, such as this, have become a haven
The site’s landscape program and structure is intended to
reach out to the alternative sport user group, as well as sustain
the influx of daily users that would both work in the building and
commute through it. The design proposes the reinstatement of the
regional rail such that a new train station can be built as a catalyst
to inspire development of the site. Designed both for the rider,
observer, worker and public, the park’s terrain became the
framework for us to address ecological, economic and social conditions
in East Stroudsburg.
This project is both an exercise in design as well as a policy proposal
for the creation of a park built from a set of components reliant
on each other and the steel skeleton of the existing building. The
smartPARK strategy aims to seamlessly integrate the building with
the landscape, using the building’s steel skeleton as a base
to insert both building modules and park space. The design is organized
to allow the economic and technological requirements of the KIZ
initiative to be flexible and to grow over time. smartPARK recognizes
the site’s role as integral to the historic development of
the Poconos region, and offers a proposal that both maintains its
industrial past while simultaneously prompting new programs, technology,
and public space to self-generate within the community of East
- Develop a filter consisting of the public, city government
and activators (riders) that fights big box development by allowing
community to participate in the growth of the business community.
- Develop a modular system, dependant on existing infrastructure,
able to accept program without sacrificing park surface.
- Develop a ramp system to support various module organizations
that maintain circulation efficiency in one direction and ambiguous,
exploratory movement in another; enabling maximum flexibility
of program and inhabitation.
- Design for constant activation and harmony between user groups
throughout the day and across the site
The building strategy does not disrupt any additional land on the
site other than what it currently occupies. Proposed building modules
do not only take advantage of the existing infrastructure to encourage
less new construction, but they are even elevated off the ground
plane, returning current hardscape to a soft, permeable surface.
The landscape strategy ranges from harder public surfaces to softer,
undulating berms that both serve as bike jumps and to regulate stormwater.
The project is designed to maximize hardscape where heavy pedestrian
traffic will occur and to grade into softscape as the site reaches
the forest along its periphery. All landscape structures were designed
to be able to accomplish this transition from hard to soft. The
design included a highly developed concrete unit that could be used
for straight, concave, and convex retaining walls, as well as planters
and seating walls. The unit helps to create this hard to soft transition,
give form to the landscape, and bring permeability and green into
the harder portions of the project.
Based on city-led research, the site did not contain any contamination.
The greatest challenge was to create a design strategy that ensured
the inclusion of public decision in the project outcome. We aimed
to develop a contract that would act as a platform from which to
explore numerous design configurations that could be governed largely
by the public, rather than the city. With this dedication to the
involvement of the community, especially the young riders, we were
able to create a growth policy that ensures community input in order
to develop the site both economically, programmatically, and formally.
By integrating this contract as part of the design strategy, we
were also able to ensure a smart organization of development that
was highly flexible, innovative, and that guaranteed a large proportion
of new open space.