November 2002- Capital Project of the Month
BROWER PARK PLAYGROUND
Katherine Bridges: Brooklyn Boro Supervisor
Tom Cleveland: Designer
Peter Williams: EnvironmentalEngineer
Trish Clark: 3D Renderer
Hicham Osman: Resident Engineer
Albert Vann: Council Member
Location: This project is located in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn. It is located between the Brooklyn Children's Museum (which has completed plans for a new building) and P.S. 289 on Brooklyn Avenue. Across Brooklyn Avenue are residential buildings. The playground is a portion of Brower Park.
Project History: The playground was previously designed by Zion & Breen in 1983.
Funding: This project is funded by Council Member Albert Vann and with a total budget of $692,000.
Project Design: The basic idea was to maintain an open assembly and play area for the school children, design a new play area with modern equipment, and connect them with a wooded play area through which the children can run. A newly designed musical instrument, a thumb piano, and an innovative spiraling spray shower, both inspired by the Brooklyn Children's Museum, will be installed.
The Thumb Piano
The thumb piano originated in Africa and was a hand-held musical instrument made from a wooden box or hollow gourd. The sound was created by pieces of hammered metal, like nails, that when plucked, would vibrate, creating a sound in a similar way to that of a guitar. The new design enlarges the thumb piano from a hand held item to a stationary musical instrument which two children can simultaneously play. The first step in creating the thumb piano was to make a small scale wax model which was used in generating computer drawings. Then a full size plaster model was made. This model will be used as the pattern in the casting process. The method of casting is called the French sand casting method. The sand, which was originally found in France, is used to make the molds in which the hot molten bronze is poured. The sand is recyclable and no rubber or plaster molds need to be made. The cost of casting is much less expensive than the typical lost wax-bronze casting method. This particular type of casting has been used for centuries and many of the European church bells were cast in this method.
The Spiraling Water Spray Shower
A new shower area serving the entire park was designed and will have a spiraling water spray feature at its center. This form for the spiral was inspired by many of the shells found in the Brooklyn Children Museum. At first a plaster small-scale model was made, then 3-D computer drawings were made which were used to make a full size styrofoam and plaster model. This plaster model will be used as the pattern in the French sand casting method as described above. When installed the water will spray up into the air and a stream of water will flow around the spiral.