“Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, so goes the Pavilion” say architects Hollwich Kushner. The Fire Island Pines Pavilion, a legendary dance club on Fire Island in New York, was destroyed in 2011 by a devastating fire. Now near completion, it is once again giving the Pines community a central hub for culture and nightlife thanks to New York-based Hollwich Kushner (HWKN) and developer Blesso Properties.
“The building, located at the intersection of all traffic to and from the island, is shaped to become a part of the everyday way of life for the community by fitting in comfortably with the open, beachy, and modern feel of the Pines,” says Matthias Hollwich, co-founder of HWKN. “Going beyond that, we infused every space with a social engine, including the triangular bars that encourage casual meetings, the arena-like bleachers in the nightclub that put the ‘see and be seen’ opportunity into the 3rd dimension, and the inviting openness of the triangular facade frames.”
The building’s form is sheared towards the harbor to visually welcome the more than 800,000 visitors who arrive via ferry to Fire Island Pines every summer. The first floor offers a Welcome Bar that serves as a meeting place for all residents and visitors and the dance club encompasses the building’s second level with a 2,400 square-foot dance floor and a 2,600 square-foot outdoor terrace. The outdoor terrace will host High Tea in the evenings and double as an additional lounge at night. The Welcome Bar, the High Tea deck, and the Pavilion club space are all connected by an internal loop of stairs. Inside the club, stadium steps cascade out from one wall, creating an elevated view of the dance floor, with a skylight overhead providing a constant view of the starry night skies.
“The new pavilion is an architectural chameleon,” says Marc Kushner, co-founder of HWKN. “When it is empty, it is a muscular icon for the energy and vitality of the Pines – it visually welcomes every ferry that arrives to the island. As it fills with an afternoon crowd, the architecture fades in importance. The building becomes an armature to display the social spectacle of a weekend in the Pines.”
The building is a keenly measured exercise in sustainability. Many of the design elements that make the space fun, like a massive retractable roof over the dance floor, serve a double purpose by providing passive cooling on hot summer nights. The decision to open half of the building to the outdoors also vastly reduces the need for air conditioning, while re-connecting people to the beauty of the natural environment of Fire Island. Additionally, the choice of finishes on the exterior and interior is calibrated to minimize material usage by exposing the Pavilion’s raw construction.
FIRE ISLAND PINES PAVILION
LOCATION: Fire Island Pines, Fire Island, NY
CLIENT: Blesso Properties
SIZE: 8,000 sq ft
STATUS: Nearing Completion
Principal in Charge: Matthias Hollwich
Project Architect: Egbert Miles Chu
Team: Tim Aarsen with Adam Hostetler, Jamie Abrego, Robert May, Gregory Nakata, Mark Paz, Clare Reidy, Brett Wiemann, Nickie Huang, Agnieszka Wojciechowicz
PHOTOS: Michael Moran/OTTO