Yesterday, the New York City Public Design Commission recognized the Central Park Conservancy, NYC Parks, and a design team led by the Conservancy and Susan T. Rodriguez Architecture & Design with Mitchell Giurgola with the Award for Excellence in Design for the reconstruction of the Harlem Meer Pool and Rink—formerly known as Lasker Rink.

The Harlem Meer Pool and Rink project design is a beautiful, year-round recreational facility seamlessly integrated into the landscape around the Harlem Meer that will transform the north end of the Park. The project will replace a failing and outdated facility with a stunning new center, expanding access to recreation and programming throughout the year for the surrounding Harlem community. The improvements include a larger-than-Olympic-size pool, a full-scale ice rink, an additional new skating experience on the Meer, and a new outdoor spray pad, all integrated into the topography of the Park through a design that blurs the line between landscape and architecture.

“We have been deeply engaged with the community throughout the design process, and we are honored to be recognized with this public design award,” said Christopher J. Nolan, Chief Landscape Architect for the Central Park Conservancy. “The project will transform the landscape and the surrounding community’s relationship to the Park, demonstrating the powerful role that community collaboration and public-private partnerships can play in revitalizing greenspaces and enhancing the lives of New Yorkers.”

The Public Design Commission recognizes well-designed public projects that exemplify best practices in public design with its annual Award for Excellence in Design. This year, the Commission recognized citywide parks maintenance, operations, and conservation staff for their dedication and efforts to provide safe and welcoming open spaces that supported the health and wellbeing of so many New Yorkers during the pandemic.

“This award is about recognizing the best of New York City and what it means to create inspired spaces for all New Yorkers,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “What is happening at the Harlem Meer shows the true resiliency and strength of our comeback and how New Yorkers strive to create a better future, even against the greatest of all challenges.”

“The Harlem Meer Pool and Rink project highlights the vital role that equitable and sustainable design plays in connecting New Yorkers to parks,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “We congratulate our partners at the Central Park Conservancy for this outstanding award-winning design, and we thank the Public Design Commission for recognizing the importance of an inclusive, seamless 21st century park system.”

Over the past 40 years, the Conservancy has returned the north end to its original intent—an oasis that transports visitors away from bustling city life. The Harlem Meer Pool and Rink project is the final piece of the transformation of Central Park’s north end into the vibrant resource it was meant to be. With overwhelming support from Park users, community boards and community-based organizations, the project will begin construction this summer.

For further details on design plans for the reconstruction of the pool and rink at the Harlem Meer project, click here.

About the Central Park Conservancy

The Central Park Conservancy is a private, not-for-profit organization that manages Central Park and is responsible for raising the Park’s annual operating budget. The Conservancy’s staff of more than 300 is responsible for all aspects of the Park’s stewardship, from day-to-day maintenance and operations to continued restoration and rebuilding projects. Additionally, the Conservancy operates the Park’s visitor centers, provides public programs, and serves as a resource for other NYC parks and for public-private partnerships around the world. For more information, please visit centralparknyc.org.

Download Press Kit

Photo: Central Park Conservancy.