Modernist Architecture: Jane’s Carousel, Brooklyn NY

As a freestanding pavilion, Jane’s Carousel at Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City captures people’s imagination and invites them to explore the park.  With its minimalist design, folding exterior translucent facades and exposed steel structure, it is a noteworthy example of modernist architecture.  The pavilion respects and celebrates its primary function and sits comfortably in its waterfront environment.  

At the Foothills of the Brooklyn Bridge

At the Foothills of the Brooklyn Bridge 2

Getting there

If you want to experience great modernist architecture in the middle of the hustle and bustle of New York City, you must visit Jane’s Carousel at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.  It is easily accessible by mass transit.  The nearest subway station is at York Street which is merely 10 minutes away.  It is visible as a shining jewel from many vantage points and attracts attention of regular visitors as well as tourists.  It is temporarily closed during the pandemic.  Located a few feet from the East River, the pavilion was designed by internationally acclaimed architect Jean Nouvel

The Close-up of the Pavilion

The Close-up of the Pavilion 3

Modernist pavilion for Jane’s Carousel

The Carousel was originally built in 1922 in Ohio and was moved to the Brooklyn Bridge Park.  The 72 feet x 72 feet pavilion accommodates 50-foot diameter carousel comfortably with room to spare. The carousel is in the middle of the square pavilion and has a circular skylight above it.  The pavilion’s primary structure consists of four cylindrical steel columns set back from its façades and tied together by four steel beams located above the ceiling.  Exposing the structural frame rather than covering it up with ornamented façades is a key feature of modernist architecture.  The East and West façades of the pavilion are fixed and are made of transparent acrylic panels.  The other two facades are fully operable, with full height folding doors offering wide framed view of the river to the North and the park to the South.  With its simple geometry and subdued colors, the pavilion remains in the background and allows the visitors to explore the sights, sounds and the magic of the carousel. 

The Carousel

The Carousel 4

Modernist playground for children

There is something very playful and child like that makes this pavilion a masterful work of architecture.  It captures the ideologies of modernist architecture where the form is derived from its function, the materials are devoid of ornament or decoration, and structure is visible and technologically innovative.  It responds well to the needs of the children by asking a simple question at the outset.  What does a carousel mean to a child? It must offer a fun ride where the child is temporarily transported to an imaginary world of colorful horses and royalty. The child becomes a prince or princess riding on a colorful horse waiving to parents or onlookers.  It is a magical experience full of light, sound, color and movement. The Brooklyn Pavilion captures this magic in a playful manner.

The Brooklyn pavilion continues the tradition of modernist architecture rooted in minimalist forms and exploration of building materials and structure in their natural state.

One thought on “Modernist Architecture: Jane’s Carousel, Brooklyn NY

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *