Tonight, Gowanus by Design (GbD), a community-based urban advocacy group, will launch a new exhibition showing award winners and other selected entries of its Water Works Competition at The Old American Can Factory Gallery in Brooklyn. The opening reception for the exhibit will be held on May 22 from 6:30 to 9:00p.m. The intent of GbD’s competition was to design a new community resource to replace the site of the old Douglas Degraw pool with a Combined Sewer Overflow retention facility.
After considering over 250 entries submitted from more than 20 countries, the jury, in search of entries that successfully dealt with matters of architectural design, community programming, and urban ecology, determined that no particular entry entirely addressed the numerous and complex challenges presented by the competition brief. Therefore, the jurors announced three winners in three categories: Urban Ecology, Architectural Design, and Community Programming.
With an increased likelihood that the Douglass and Degraw Street pool will be demolished to suitably remediate the heavily contaminated soil underneath, the group jumped at a chance to contemplate a new urban typology. The competition jury included Richard Plunz, David J. Lewis, Robert M. Rogers, Andrew Simons and Joel Towers. The competition emphasized community advancement within a toxic waterway context: “Can a new community center and remediation facility on a heavily contaminated State Superfund site be designed to strengthen the urban infrastructure and educate the community about environmental challenges facing the area?”