Located in the heart of Brooklyn, the 585-acre Prospect Park was developed in 1866 by famed landscape architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Their mission was to have the Park serve as an urban oasis—a peaceful, natural haven and gathering place for the residents of Brooklyn. To meet the current demands of this beloved public space, Prospect Park Alliance recently undertook a major $74 million, 26-acre restoration. Lakeside Center revives the southeast section of the park to its original design, refurbishing Prospect Lake and its shoreline, adding 5 acres to the lake and 3 acres of green space. The project also includes the replacement of the Wollman Ice Rink with a new LEED-Silver certified, 75,000-square-foot, indoor/outdoor facility situated partially underground and topped with a green roof, integrating the architecture with its surrounding landscape. The LeFrak Center provides a year-round skating rink with ice skating in the winter months and roller skating in warmer months, as well as a water fountain playground.
To honor Samuel and Ethel LeFrak, whose generous support and contributions made the new Center possible, Poulin + Morris designed a building sign program incorporating traditional architectural identification elements in an integrated and contemporary manner. Utilizing a modernist font to reflect the proportion and silhouette of the Center’s architecture, the LeFrak family name is set into stone walls in stainless steel typography throughout the Center, slightly protruding from these surfaces to create a bold, 3-dimensional effect. The main identification can be found at the Center’s entrance, at the concession and skate rental areas, and along the perimeter of the skating rink. The designers also created a New York State-style vanity license plate featuring the LeFrak name displayed on the back of the skating rink’s Zamboni ice resurfacer, further identifying and honoring the LeFrak family in a playful way.
A donor recognition program was also developed to honor the LeFraks as well as other major corporate and individual donors. A dark granite wall features donor names in the same typography used in the Center’s main identification and inlaid with white gold leaf in 3 different sizes—recognizing varied gift levels. Donor names are displayed in a horizontal pattern that suggests fluid motion—a reference to ice skating movements. The program extends to additional walls throughout the Center as well as benches, the water fountain, and markers found along Prospect Lake’s revived shoreline.
The ambitious Lakeside Center project restores Olmstead and Vaux’s vision for Prospect Park while meeting the needs of today’s visitors and maintaining a green and natural environment.
LeFrak Center at Lakeside Prospect Park was a recipient of a 2015 Honor Award for Architecture by The American Institute of Architects (AIA).
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LeFrak Center at Lakeside
Brooklyn, New York
Prospect Park Alliance
Publications and Recognitions
American Institute of Architects
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