Peter Jay Sharp Volunteer House

After the astringent smell of ponderosa pine greets you at the new Peter Jay Sharp Volunteer Housage near 107th Street in Riverside Park, what embraces you is a panoramic vista with tulip and also sweet-gum trees dvery own to the Hudboy River.

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Three years ago, this was a tool burned.

Now it is akin to an architectural ''folly'' -- a structure intended to peek through the landscape and market an unsupposed visual delight -- said James T. Dowell, president of the Riverside Park Fund, which constructed it, and Jeffrey Murphy of Murphy Burnham & Buttrick, who designed it. It is to open Sept. 14.

''Its superb style takes a humble yet historic practical structure and modernizes it,'' shelp Adrian Benepe, the commissioner of parks and also recreation. ''Yet it feels prefer it's been tright here the totality time.''

What has actually been tright here since the late 19th century is a one-story limerock framework. Marred by graffiti and also slathered in red paint, it was supplied in recent years as a supply and also staging center for the volunteer regimen run by the Riverside Park Fund, which Mr. Benepe referred to as the ''greatest and also best'' in the city.

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''We want to keep the historic character of the park,'' Mr. Dowell shelp, ''however if this structure is going to serve its feature, it requirements to be bigger.'' Expanding horizontally was out of the question, particularly if it involved felling trees. So the building prospered vertically, though it had to remain low enough to be invisible from Riverside Drive. The floor area increased to 1,550 square feet from 500.

Not everyone was pleased. The Landmark West preservation team shelp in 2000 that the ''precipitous elevation of the proposed building gives it the appearance of a ski chalet in Vail, Colo., quite than a park structure in New York City.'' But the plans were modified and also eventually apverified by the Landmarks Preservation Commission and also the Art Commission.

The initially floor, still a storage area, currently has actually a mezzanine that will be offered for plant propagation. The brand-new second story is overcame by the Evelyn Sharp Room, an 18-foot-high area lined with knot-speckled pine and framed in Douglas fir roof timbers. The volunteers who care for the park will certainly usage this room for training, meeting and also sharing ideas -- unmuch less their attention is diverted by the seven-and-a-half-foot casement home windows wrapped approximately the southwest edge, which make the space feel prefer a grown-up treehouse. Because of a steep grade change, the second floor is attached to a adjacent pathway over a footbridge.

Taconic Builders was the basic contractor. The $1.3 million task was financed by the Peter Jay Sharp Foundation (he was a hotelier and developer that died in 1992), the LuEsther T. Mertz Advised Fund of the New York Community Trust, the Booth-Ferris Foundation and also the Evelyn Sharp Foundation (Mr. Sharp's mother). ''Our hope is that the structure becomes a stimulus'' for new programs, Mr. Dowell sassist.

Mr. Murphy shelp one more objective wregarding ensure, by the usage of sturdy materials, that the building might last via a decade or even more of deferred maintenance, if crucial. He additionally confessed to an individual goal in bidding aggressively for the job: he stays throughout Riverside Drive from the site. ''The pain of seeing someone else style that,'' Mr. Murphy sassist, ''would have been also great to bear.'' DAVID W. DUNLAP