About the project
The landmarked Station House at Avenue H in Midwood, Brooklyn was originally built at the turn of the century as a real estate office for the surrounding community of Fiske Terrace. It was an example of a planned suburban development and a neighborhood that's has well-kept homes and landscaped streets. When the station was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2004, the Commission wrote that Avenue H is "the city’s only shingled wooden cottage-turned-transit station house." To celebrate this uniquely charming site, artist Ed Kopel animated the exterior of the building with his piece, "Brooklyn Bucolic," transforming an unused colonnade into an active community porch.
The artwork, along the north and east facades of the station house, consists of casual groupings of cast bronze rocking chairs, anchored in place. The chairs are modeled on rockers produced by the Shaker Community in Mount Lebanon, New York during the 19th and 20th centuries. That timeframe aligns with the development of Fiske Terrace, from the establishment of the Brighton Line in 1878 to the completion of nearby home construction in the 1920s. Each chair has a unique patina treatment to make them more inviting and appropriate to a cozy porch setting.
The chairs vary in size, accommodating a variety of users and suggesting a dialogue among them. Though the chairs are similar in style, each one is subtly different with a variety of weaves, colors and patterns. The colors of the rocking chairs recall and harmonize with the decorative hues of the surrounding Queen Anne and Colonial-style houses. "Brooklyn Bucolic" is, in part, an effort to recall the graciousness of front-porch society from days gone by. The chairs were fabricated by JP Parnas Woodworking and Polich Tallix.
About the artist
Ed Kopel leads a full-service architectural firm based in Manhattan and Brooklyn, specializing in design-intensive projects that demand imaginative solutions. The firm practices all styles of design, dealing with the same fundamental building blocks — space, light, form, materiality, structure, usability and craft — rather than believing in the primacy of one particular style. In his practice, Kopel likes to help people solve problems. He strives to make beautiful, timeless spaces that flow, maximize light, and evoke a sense of ease. Kopel earned a Master of Architecture from Yale University and a B.A. from Columbia University.