Urban is pleased to announce that the Reconstruction of the Prospect Park Wellhouse was recently honored at the American Council of Engineering Companies of New York’s 2019 Engineering Excellence Awards. Urban and client Prospect Park Alliance were in attendance to accept the recognition.
“We would like to congratulate the Prospect Park Alliance on the successful completion of this project and on the acknowledgment from ACEC New York,” said William Thomsen, PE, president of Urban Engineers of New York, D.P.C. “The reconstruction of the Wellhouse was an innovative and sustainable idea that honored the history of Prospect Park while providing an important amenity to its millions of visitors. Urban was proud to play a part in creating New York City’s first composting restroom in a public park”
Originally built in 1869, the facility was designed by Calvert Vaux in a public park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. When it was first built, the Wellhouse was considered an engineering achievement. The facility connected to an underground cistern that could be viewed through a glass dome above. Over time, the cistern was filled in, the glass dome removed, and an existing chimney was demolished, leaving just the Wellhouse to stand alone.
The Prospect Park Alliance - a non-profit which cares for the park in partnership with the city - led the conversion of the historic Prospect Park Wellhouse into a much-needed public comfort station. With funding from the New York City Council, the Alliance used this project as an opportunity to demonstrate sustainable practices. The renovated Wellhouse features composting toilets, the first in a New York City public park. These toilets use 97% less water than a typical toilet, and convert waste into compost. Urban was brought in by Alliance to perform special inspections during reconstruction, as is required by the New York City Building Code.
The 52nd Annual Engineering Excellence Awards Gala was held at the Hilton Midtown in New York City. This event was co-sponsored by the ACEC New York Scholarship Fund, and in conjunction with the Gala, the scholarship program awarded more than $50,000 to New York State engineering students. Each year, over 60 member firms submit projects that are judged on a rigorous set of criteria, which includes complexity, innovation, and value to society.