Pavilion to be rebuilt at Fire Island Pines, New York

Hard on the heels of a devastating fire last November, Fire Island Pines has unveiled dramatic and far-reaching plans for the rebuilding of the legendary Pavilion dance club, developed by FIP Ventures and designed by New York architects HWKN (Hollwich Kushner).

“Although the new building will have the same envelope and mix of uses as its predecessor, the similarities end there,” says Matthew Blesso, developer and managing partner of FIP Ventures. “The Pavilion will be in context with other Pines architecture. It will be made of wood and be modern and casual, yet bold and iconic. It is the first thing visitors see when getting off the ferry, and we’ve envisioned it to be the heart of the Pines community.”

“We designed the new Pavilion around the community and experiences at Fire Island,” says Matthias Hollwich, co-founder of HWKN. “The building forms intimate public spaces out of a single volume. It is carved and rutted like a piece of driftwood washed ashore by the sea.”

The building’s form is sheared towards the harbor to visually welcome the over 800,000 visitors who arrive via ferry to Fire Island every summer. It will have two stories of outdoor terrace and a “Welcome Bar” to serve as a meeting place for all residents and visitors.

The design creates a three-dimensional experience that virtually stretches the public zone of the boardwalk up into the building’s façade. Benches, wide staircases, and storefronts activate the base of the Pavilion, and the entrance forms a set of bleachers that act as a viewing platform, stage, wedding chapel and extended dance floor. A new welcome bar on the first floor, the high-tea terrace and the Pavilion Club are all connected by an internal loop of stairs.

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Construction will start in June, pursuant to the variance approved by the Town of Brookhaven this past February and further permitting expected soon.

The fire also damaged FIP Ventures’ Canteen building, Pool Deck, bulkhead and boardwalk, all of which have been fully repaired. FIP is continuing its master planning process to reimagine not just the Pavilion building but all of its real estate in the wake of the fire. Master planning is being led by Blesso and Charles Renfro from world-renowned design firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro, which also designed Manhattan’s High Line Park and Lincoln Center.

FIP is fully open for the season under the new leadership of general manager Constantino Papadakis. “We are excited that Tino will be continuing our momentum and vision to make Fire Island Pines the world’s premier gay resort,” say co-owners Andrew Kirtzman and Seth Weissman. Papadakis started as a FIP bartender six years ago, was later bar manager, and now brings experience from his leadership roles as restaurant manager and event producer in Manhattan. He is working in tandem with Blesso Properties to best steer coordinated redevelopment and operational endeavors.

“Summer 2012 will be incredible,” says Mr. Papadakis, pointing to enhanced lighting and sound systems, designed by Guy Smith Productions, to create Miami-inspired pool parties and new late-night events at The Blue Whale; expanded menu options focusing on nutritional value at Canteen; renovated interiors at the Hotel Ciel; and a new look and location for The Rack, the gym.

But many of the beloved traditions will continue, he notes. “As always, we are offering our various Tea Parties, while also creating new, exciting events with the best DJs and entertainers. In short, we cannot wait for the summer to be in full-swing.”

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