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Sleepy Hollow Promenade

MKCA was short listed for a Public Works facility for the Village of Sleepy Hollow, a historic Hudson River town in Westchester County.

The proposed building is a logistical center for the town, housing service vehicles, trucks, road salt, and the town’s Public Works staff on a site located between a cliff and the river. Our approach was to develop a hybrid building – an almost ruthlessly efficient precast concrete building that contains the truck bays, storage facilities, and conditioned office space; and a landscaped rooftop promenade, pedestrian bridge, and monumental stair that create linkages to three parks and the newly reclaimed waterfront that are adjacent to the site. In response to the town’s prompt to consider how a pubic works facility could be an “iconic” building, our approach was to consider how such a building could be situated and configured to support memorable, iconic experiences and the creating of new civic places.

The new civic promenade would provide unprecedented connectivity across the site: carrying park-goers from Barnhardt Park to Devries Park across the promenade, connecting to the Riverwalk via the proposed green bridge which will cross the neighboring train tracks. The elevated plane provides iconic views and new vantage points within Sleepy Hollow, supplanting idea of an iconic building with a set of iconic experiences which can be shared by the community itself.

The strategic placement of buildings and landscape elements allows these views to overlook and mask the logistical programming of the facilities below, creating un-inhibited vistas. A new public stair affords access to the new park and hiking trails, becoming a new civic facade and gathering space with a future emergency services building beneath. Previously under-utilized, steep edges of the site are activated by terraced seating for spectators and audiences.

In essence, the proposal seeks to create a building which functions as a civic node within Sleepy Hollow, knitting together previously disconnected areas and activities within the city by interweaving civic narratives and creating physical, visual, and conceptual bridges. This ambition is materialized through four main design strategies.

  1. 1. Connectivity:

We proposed that radical green connectivity should be the organizing principal for the project. The collection of new buildings and green spaces will integrated into a terraced and sloping landscape that negotiates the site’s complex terrain and adjacencies while providing new opportunities for indoor and outdoor public gathering, play, performance, and relaxation.

2. Efficiency:

On its roof, the DPW Facility acts as a continuous platform for an eye-catching and formally nuanced connected green space. Both in service of this public-facing goal, and for internal performance, we propose that the Facility itself prioritize structural efficiency. The simple linear form generated by the green bridge above means that the building sits compactly on its site and makes effective use of the terrain. Vehicular access is accommodated along a continuous double-loaded bay, with a pass-through in the middle of the structure that separates the Facility’s program elements without interrupting public flows above. 

3. Gradients

In an effort to maximize performance, we propose a gradient conditioning strategy that concentrates spaces with higher conditioning needs, such as receptions, offices, and meeting spaces to one end of the structure while separating out those with lower conditioning needs, like vehicle storage, fuel and wash station, and workshops to another. This means a more efficiently loaded system that consumes energy intelligently when and only where it’s needed. 

4. Curated Views

A terraced landscaping strategy helps not only to negotiate the site’s complex grading, but also to produce new moments of viewing. The landscape is pushed, pulled, smoothed, and cut in order to produce certain curated effects. From a distance, the DPW facility appears fully embedded in the landscape. Up close, the terrain is adjusted at a more granular level to accommodate a range of new public programs. Varying grades of slope are used to the project’s advantage, creating a range of programmed landscape elements. Gently sloped portions of the landscape offer slow meandering paths up and down the site with moments for open programming and play, while steeper slopes afford moments of seating and viewing for public gatherings. 


Project Team

MKCA, in collaboration with WXY

Rachel LeFevre, Brad Silling, Natasha Harper, Michael Chen (MKCA); Claire Weisz, Paul van der Grient (WXY)

Structural Engineering: Walter P. Moore

MEP Engineering: Arora Engineers

Construction Management: SCCS Group

Visualization: Alden Studios