Van Cortlandt Park Headhouse + Greenhouses

Bronx, NY

Creating an anchoring hub for NYC Parks’ horticultural efforts, LSS’s design for the Van Cortlandt Park Headhouse and Greenhouses transforms previously hidden and outdated structures into a welcoming presence that accommodates both staff and visitors entering the grounds of the surrounding nursery.

The Headhouse acts as an anchoring hub housing the site’s systems and its people. The large structure is situated at the end of the site’s main access road and is often the first point of contact for both staff and visitors entering the grounds of the surround­ing nursery. It becomes a welcoming element for visitors that clearly marks the facilities’ entrance. The Headhouse’s welcoming presence is emphasized upon approach by an awning that creates a meeting space for volunteer orientation and a storefront window unit providing a visual connection from the entryway through to the greenhouses. The metal façade is constructed of simple and durable materials for resiliency. Large and dynamic graphics and way-finding are carried throughout the building’s interior.

The design of the Headhouse is flexible in order to house both the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and the activities and needs of the many groups of people that share the space – the Bronx nursery, citywide nurseries, NYC Park’s staff and small groups including volunteers and visiting community and school groups.

For the NYC Parks’ growing staff and programming, the expansive upper floor multipurpose staff space incorporates a series of windows allowing northern light. Other shared spaces include locker rooms, and changing spaces that are easily accessible by permanent and temporary volun­teer staff.