Interested parties have been left standing around for an extra week while they wait to find out the three finalists of Portland, Oregon's Street Seats: Urban Benches for Vibrant Cities design competition. The announcement ceremony was rescheduled to avoid a potentially violent political protest at the adjacent Tom McCall Waterfront Park and eventually took place on August 9 in downtown Portland. Street Seats was an international competition to design new public benches for the city of Portland. Design Museum Portland organized the competition in partnership with Portland General Electric Company (PGE) and World Trade Center Portland (WTCP), which is also the site where the 15 semi-finalists have been installed. Nestled between the Willamette River and downtown, the contest aims higher than merely bolstering public seating. Juror Kregg Arntson, executive director of the PGE Foundation, hopes the seats "inspire people to come down and enjoy the community." Launched in January, the competition attracted over 200 international entrants, and many referenced the Pacific Northwest's rainy climate and penchant for locally sourced wood construction. In addition to basic physical and safety requirements, the design brief emphasized sustainable materials and innovative processes while requiring a 1/8th scale model and a video. Fifteen shortlisted entrants received $1,000 grants to fabricate and install their prototypes on site. Portland-based Kyle and Alyssa Trulen, a landscape architect and a videographer respectively, took the grand prize with their entry A Quiet Place to Sit and Rest. Inspired by author Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree," the bench reflects the design of a stump and protects the trees it's installed around from soil compaction and bark damage. The thermally treated pine and ash are also insect resistant. "The real purpose of the seat design is not merely protection," said the Trulens, "it's about the relationship of a person with a tree...in hope of a healthier urban environment for both." The runner-up, Fluid Wood, was the result of a collaboration between Portland-based architect Norberto Gliozzi and Axiom Custom Products. Fluid Wood comprises layers of laminated wood cut in an egg-like form. Another finalist by The Tubsters, from Berkeley, California claimed the people's choice award for Tub(Time), a cut-away bathtub containing hardened transparent resin representing the Willamette River and a topographical map of the downtown and central eastside. Passersby are encouraged to climb in and recline. The Design Museum, which hosted a similar Street Seats competition in Boston in 2013, was not the first to sponsor such a challenge in Portland. The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) had developed guidelines in 2012 based on similar programs in New York and San Francisco to convert on-street parking spaces to public use. During a 2014 collaboration with the Center for Architecture, Portland yielded two winning submissions for seating that were installed in the city's northeast quadrant. In the summer of 2015, Portland State University architecture students designed and built a seating structure downtown. PBOT canceled the 2016 competition for an uncharacteristically low response rate; however, PBOT's program still exists outside of the downtown area. This year's Design Museum Portland competition is unrelated to the City's previous efforts and was launched independently. Many passersby spontaneously stopped to try the seats and participate in the announcement ceremony after the unveiling, reaffirming Design Museum Portland's managing director Erica Rife's statement that it is "important to be a good neighbor and inspire this community to be closer"—a much-welcomed change from the previous weekend's police and protester standoff. The 15 seats and over 200 1/8th scale models will remain on view until February. Several seats—Fractal Rock by Holst Architects, B_tween Bench by Gamma Architects, and Fern by Yingjie Liang, in addition to the winner and runners-up—will remain installed at the WTCP while the others will be relocated to sites throughout Portland. An online exhibition and schedule of accompanying programs are hosted at designmuseumportland.org.
Search results for "waterfront"
The slow days of summer are a good time to catch up on important projects that somehow fell through the editorial cracks during the year. One such project is the Leddy Maytum Stacy Architects (LMS)-designed headquarters for the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco. The Club, one of the institutions that make San Francisco such a unique and progressive city, was founded in 1903; as a public affairs forum, it presents more than 450 events a year. It has been looking for a home since it was founded and its “early plans to acquire a headquarters building were derailed by the 1906 earthquake.” A few years ago, the organization purchased a site fronting San Francisco’s Embarcadero waterfront boulevard that was occupied by a building almost as old as the organization and once the home of the city’s Longshoreman’s Association. The dock workers union was led by Harry Bridges, who famously shut down the city for four days in 1934, and for a city proud of its union history, this qualifies as an important historic site. LMS have created a fitting monument and organization headquarters on the Embarcadero. The firm designed a workable plan for the Club that includes two auditoria, meeting rooms, a library, gallery, boardroom, roof terrace, catering facilities, and a state-of-the-art audio/broadcast system and high-tech communications platform for the club’s weekly radio broadcast. But the firm’s most important addition to the new headquarters is its facade design, and the building, as a pass-through property, has two entrances. The Steuart Street entrance was the principal entry for the longshoremen, and is where three workers were shot (two of whom died on what is called “Bloody Thursday”), which was preserved by the architects as an important historical marker. But on the Embarcadero, which is one of the most important thoroughfares in San Francisco, LMS designed a beautifully detailed new glass curtain wall facade. The curtainwall is clear glass with operable windows that highlight the top floor auditorium where the lectures and talks take place, and opens up to welcome the city inside. It’s a beautiful and elegant public face for this important public policy institution, and Marsha Maytum claims “we were thrilled to be able to create a home for civil discourse that is needed more than ever.”
On Tuesday, Sidewalk Labs and Waterfront Toronto signed a deal that pared down some of the business's plans to design a smart city on the Canadian city's lakeshore. Sidewalk Labs, a New York-based urban innovation startup founded by Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was selected last year to work with Waterfront Toronto, a government-backed corporation, to reimagine underdeveloped parcels on the city’s eastern edge. The proposal, Sidewalk Toronto, envisioned 800 acres of waterfront as a test hub for new urban technologies. Since the announcement, details about the project have been slow to emerge, but last week a 58-page agreement between Sidewalk and Waterfront Toronto revealed a narrower scope for the tech company than originally imagine. Rather than having influence over the entirety of the city's waterfront, Sidewalk Labs has been given a more stringent site plan and governance with just 12 acres of land available for its new high-tech neighborhood at Quayside. The site sits south of Toronto’s downtown at Parliament Slip, a long-underutilized port and empty space adjacent to the city’s elevated highway. While many of the design details have been kept under wraps since Sidewalk Labs was chosen for the project last fall, we do know that it aims to combine a new mobility system for transportation, sustainable and flexible buildings, data integration, and digital infrastructure. In the initial description and renderings, Quayside features “futuristic city” tech innovations such as sensors that can detect pedestrians at traffic lights, robot vehicles that can transport garbage via underground tunnels, and a transformative street layout fit for shared self-driving cars. According to the new documents, the city of Toronto doesn’t plan to give over any other waterfront lands except the Quayside parcel to the Sidewalk Labs project, although Waterfront Toronto officials say that expanding later on to neighboring sites is still a possibility. It was also made clear that Sidewalk Labs will have zero equity in the project, though the group initially invested US$50 million on public consultations and pre-design and -development work. That money could be recovered in their share of the profits should the final plans be approved. To move forward, the designs must go through a series of public roundtables this fall and eventually be looked over by the city council. While a new waterfront scheme has been in talks for years, Toronto is now pushing back on Sidewalk Labs’ design largely, it seems, because the grand vision for the project isn’t all that clear. Many critics have noted the original framework for the proposal was thin on details, especially regarding how Sidewalk Labs would collect and use Torontonians’ data and ensure privacy. In the new agreement, a set of protections and promises are listed but there are no specifics on how the partners would enact those are laid out yet. According to The Globe and Mail, one of Waterfront Toronto’s board members, developer Julie Di Lorenzo who was outspoken in her opposition to Sidewalk Labs’ plan, stepped down from her seat recently because she was “uncomfortable with the nature of the agreement.” In early July, the corporation’s CEO Will Fleissig also suddenly resigned from his position. Tuesday’s deal was signed unanimously with neither formerly involved parties present. The explosion of excitement surrounding smart cities has lessened in recent months, in part due to concerns over how data would safely be distributed across a city-wide digital infrastructure. Not only that, but the question remains unanswered as to whether or not technology is ready for built-from-scratch cities to pop up overnight. Early promises like the self-driving car have yet to find their footing. Waterfront Toronto plans to break ground on the project as early as next spring if all approvals go through. Since this is Sidewalk Lab’s first chance to reinvent the smart city, if it doesn’t work out there, they’ll have to find another town to take them on.
The Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) 2016 summer Serpentine Pavilion, an unzipped exploration of the flat wall, has made an intercontinental leap to Toronto and is set to open in September. During the day visitors will be able to explore an architectural exhibition titled Unzipped, curated by BIG, inside of the “unzipped wall," and at night talks and events will be hosted by developer and owner Westbank. The curvilinear pavilion will be reconstructed to its original size: 88.5 feet long, 39 feet wide, and 49 feet tall. BIG’s design for the structure began with a two-dimensional wall, and then “pulled it apart” from the base to form the vaulted event space. Rather than the traditional brick, BIG stacked extruded fiberglass frames to allow sunlight inside, a material-structure-daylighting confluence also seen in Frida Escobedo’s 2018 Serpentine Pavilion. The soaring interior evokes the awesomeness of sacred interiors, but here, visitors are encouraged to get comfortable and climb on the outside of the installation. The unzipped wall is currently being installed at the intersection of King and Brant Streets, directly in front of BIG and Westbank’s mixed-use King Street West development. The stepped building will resemble the pavilion, as the development also uses cascading, angled units to maximize sunlight exposure. The installation will remain at its current location until November of this year, but Toronto is only the first stop in the pavilion’s multi-city tour across Canada. The structure will ultimately land on the West Coast in front of Westbank’s Shaw Tower on the Vancouver waterfront. Serpentine Pavilions are sold after the summer season ends and leave London's Hyde Park for homes all over the world. Last year’s pavilion, a swooping saucer that loomed over triangularly-patterned walls from Diébédo Francis Kéré, was purchased by Ilham Gallery in Kuala Lumpur and will likely end up in the Malaysian capital city. Smiljan Radic’s fiberglass pebble from 2014 landed on the Hauser & Wirth art campus, located on Durslade Farm in Bruton, England, and SelgasCano’s plastic polygonal color show from 2015 is slated for a second life in Los Angeles. And what about Zaha Hadid’s original tent from the show’s first year in 2000? The multi-gabled pavilion eventually became a public gathering place (and frequent wedding venue) at Flambards Theme Park in Helston, Cornwall.
The 2018 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Washington, D.C. may have already passed, but the MLB Assembly, a weeklong collection of art, architecture, fashion, and food projects centered around baseball, is worth revisiting. New York-based Snarkitecture contributed to the Assembly, which ran from July 13 through July 16, with their Field installation. Visitors to the Wharf’s District Pier were greeted with a rising forest of baseball bats supported on white plinths and arranged into four diamonds that referenced the layout of a baseball field. At the beginning of Field’s four-day installation, 1,100 baseball bats were mingled with 200 billets, or unfinished raw wood cylinders. A woodturner was stationed in a booth behind the installation and using a lathe, they converted the billets into fresh bats. The project was envisioned as an interactive exhibition, where visitors would enter the rising arrangement of baseball bats and uncover the performance on the other side. Field was constantly evolving and on the last day of the exhibition, the billets had all been swapped out for finished bats. Field was not the only immersive Snarkitecture installation available to those in D.C. Fun House, the sprawling 10-year retrospective of the firm’s work, is on display in the lobby of the National Building Museum for the rest of the summer, and the same sense of spontaneity brought to Field permeates that show.
Turning Downtown Around
Massive development aims to transform Tampa's downtown and waterfront
New images for Tampa’s largest mixed-use project were recently revealed, illustrating the city’s intense investment into its waterfront and downtown core. Water Street is a $3 billion, 50-acre mixed-use waterfront district covering 16 city blocks on Hillsborough Bay. The project is being developed by Strategic Property Partners (SPP), a joint venture from Jeffrey Vinik, owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team, and Cascade Investment, run by Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The design team includes Cambridge-based Reed Hilderbrand working in conjunction with Boston-based Elkus Manfredi Architects for the project’s landscape architecture and master plan, respectively. Engineering firm Stantec is responsible for infrastructure and roadway improvements. Like other U.S. cities in the post-industrial era, Tampa largely ignored its former industrial waterfront for the majority of the late 20th century, instead focusing on building highways, surface parking lots, and structures that ultimately cut off the water from city residents. Tampa’s lack of a cohesive downtown identity has been an issue that has plagued the city and is one of the main issues that SPP is aiming to resolve with Water Street. It’s an ambitious project. If successful, Water Street will become the world’s first WELL-certified community, which sets new standards for design as a means for well-being and health through elements like daylighting and air quality. A centralized district cooling facility will be built to serve all the buildings in Water Street, opening up rooftops to have more space for greenery and/or active amenity spaces. Water Street also intends to be LEED Neighborhood Development (ND) certified, which was created to shape more sustainable and well-connected neighborhoods. Once completed, there will be two million square feet of office space, 3,500 new residencies, one million square feet of new retail, cultural, educational, and entertainment space, and two new hotels. Two projects are already underway: a JW Marriott hotel and a $164.7 million University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute. Tampa is investing heavily into its waterfront edge in an effort to revitalize and reconnect its downtown. An estimated $13 billion will be spent on development in the Tampa Bay area, according to a Dodge Data & Analytics report, and the most ambitious project is Water Street. The massive investment is an indicator not only of the city’s push to attract companies and young people, but also of the city's desire to unite its neighborhoods, including the existing Central Business District and surrounding neighborhoods of Harbour Island and the Channel District. For the past two years, construction teams have been working to create walkable and bikeable streets that eschew the traditional city street grid, redefining Tampa’s downtown into a walkable, pedestrian-friendly area. “Our plan for Water Street Tampa builds on decades of insights into what makes city neighborhoods work, working within the context of a modern lifestyle in Tampa,” said James Nozar, CEO of SPP. By developing in an underdeveloped area that has no connection to the waterfront, “we’re filling the hole in the middle of the doughnut,” he said to The New York Times. Once completed, the developers estimate that more than 23,000 people will live, work, dine, and visit Water Street. The first phase is meant to open in 2021, but the expected completion date is still a ways off in 2027.
Weekend Edition: Billionaires revolt, Jeanne Gang goes to Toronto, and more from this week in architecture news
Missed some of our articles, tweets, or Facebook posts from the last few days? Don’t sweat it—we’ve gathered the week’s must-read stories right here. Enjoy! Billionaires’ Row residents sue New York City over proposed homeless shelter The West 58th Street Coalition, which represents the homeowners, renters, and business owners in the area, filed a lawsuit aiming to stop the old Park Savoy Hotel at 158 West 58th Street from being converted into a shelter for 140 men. Army Corps of Engineers proposes swinging sea gates for New York Harbor After Hurricane Sandy in 2012, New York and New Jersey became acutely aware of their flood risk; now the Army Corps of Engineers has proposed several sea gate and wall solutions. Jeanne Gang and Renzo Piano are making their mark on Canada with a spate of new projects With the recent reveal of Studio Gang's gem-like One Delisle tower in Toronto, AN has pulled out our favorite Canadian projects of the last few months. Disney plans to build new Hudson Square campus in a $650 million deal The Walt Disney Company is moving its long-time New York headquarters on the Upper West Side to Hudson Square, a move that solidifies the up-and-coming area’s position as a hub for creative companies. Pier 3 at Brooklyn Bridge Park is now open, making the parkland 90% complete The parkland lining Brooklyn's East River waterfront added five more acres of permanent green space with the opening of Pier 3, which includes an undulating landscape of shrubs and trees. Enjoy the weather, and see you next week!
Keeping Up A-Pier-Ances
SHoP and Field Operations bring a mall, public space, and balloons to Lower Manhattan
As SHoP Architects and the Howard Hughes Corporation continue to put the finishing touches on Pier 17, AN took a behind-the-scenes look at the Manhattan seaport’s reinterpretation of the big-box mall and the massive rooftop gathering space above. The 300,000-square-foot mall and public space has been under construction since 2013 and has undergone several design tweaks since its original presentation before the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC). The proposed glass pergola on the roof has been cut, as has the lawn shown in earlier renderings. The roof is now covered in pavers and designed for flexibility; the planters are modular and can be moved to accommodate larger crowds, and a freight elevator allows food trucks onto the roof directly from the adjacent FDR parkway. According to Howard Hughes, the roof can accommodate up to 3,400 (standing) guests. SHoP took suggestions from the LPC and surrounding community into account when linking Pier 17 with the surrounding waterfront and in their decision to wrap the East River Esplanade around the building. The Esplanade extends into the interior of the first floor, as the building’s base is wrapped in double-height glass doors that can be fully raised if weather permits. The restaurant and retail sections have been reimagined as two-story 'buildings', separate from but still attached to the main structure and aligned on a grid that preserves views of the Brooklyn Bridge and surrounding skyline. SHoP has clad each building-within-a-building in materials that correspond to the area’s nautical heritage, including sustainably harvested tropical hardwood, corrugated zinc sheets, and overlapping zinc tiles. Howard Hughes has already locked down several big-name anchor tenants for Pier 17, including a two-floor restaurant from David Chang and upper-floor office space and a green room for ESPN. Outside, SHoP has collaborated with James Corner Field Operations for the landscaping and furniture, and global firm Woods Bagot has designed the Heineken pavilions. Visitors looking to soak in views of Brooklyn will also find a bar and lounge on the eastern side of the building in the shadows of artist Geronimo’s massive multicolored balloon sculpture. Her creative process is documented in the video below: The top half of Pier 17 has been clad in vertical panes of foggy green-gray channel glass, which rises and falls as it wraps around, in reference to the passing East River below. Some of the crazier renderings have shown the building’s upper floors lit up in technicolor at night, and internet-connected color-changing lights have been embedded in the facade. The public can experience Pier 17’s rooftop when it opens to the public on July 28, complete with an accompanying concert series.
Steeling the Show
Virginia Overton’s site-specific work at Socrates Sculpture Park rethinks raw construction materials
Sculptor Virginia Overton often transforms chunky construction materials into dynamic pieces of art. In her latest show, Built, she uses steel and wood to explore issues of labor, economics, and the land in contemporary society. Now on view at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, Queens, the exhibition punctuates the waterfront site with large-scale artworks that evoke the industrial past and creative potential of the site. The show’s curator, Socrates’s Director of Exhibitions Jess Wilcox, said Overton’s display not only unveils the artist’s ability to rethink and iterate ordinary objects, it showcases her pragmatic and collaborative relationship to the setting in which she works. “She was interested in working in metal and engaging with the history of metalworking here in the park,” said Wilcox. “She’s site-responsive rather than site-specific in her work because she’s willing to have her ideas evolve when pieces and materials move in an organic way.” As the first female artist to exhibit a solo collection at Socrates, the Williamsburg-based sculptor spent several months riding the ferry to Astoria to study the park and see how visitors interacted with the objects scattered throughout. For her own exhibition, which opened in May, Overton created each piece on site and situated them strategically in the green space to reveal unique perspectives of the Queens waterfront and the Manhattan skyline. Many of the sculptures contain circular forms that act as unexpected viewfinders and feature nature-inspired elements that contrast with the overall industrial aesthetic. Overton took a silver-sprayed Dodge Ram and placed an elegant aquatic feature and fountain in its elongated truck bed. She also suspended an unfinished wooden beam from steel trusses and turned it into an old-fashioned swing set. An upright rectangular structure outlined in steel displays the shapes and colors of various brass, aluminum, and copper steel pipes. The largest piece on site, a 40-by-18-foot, crystal-shaped sculpture, took the longest to configure and was built from architectural truss systems and angle irons. Dubbed 'The Gem', its seemingly heavy form cantilevers over the ground at an effortless slant, giving viewers framed views of the park through its faceted core. Pieces like this offer a new role to the support structures that often go unseen within a building’s construction. According to Wilcox, Overton’s site-responsive sculptures most importantly tie into the greater role Socrates Sculpture Park plays in New York as a former industrial site-turned-recreational space. They speak to the park as part of two larger ecosystems—its function as the physical land adjacent to the East River Estuary and its social component as an alternative arts institution in Queens. The Nashville-native’s work often conveys undertones of her rural upbringing, which easily translates to places like this that have undergone significant evolution since the industrial era. With Built, Overton not only nods to the evolution of these geographic locations, but also the way in which her iterated objects can evolve and be redefined with time. “I think architects will notice more than other viewers how she takes the basic elements of building blocks of construction and reorients them to create something totally new,” said Wilcox. “Seeing the world through Virginia’s eyes is like having your eyes being reoriented towards the world.” Built is on view through September 3 at Socrates Sculpture Park at 32-01 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, Queens. Admission is free and open to the public.
Bridging the Final Gap
Pier 3 at Brooklyn Bridge Park is now open, making the parkland 90% complete
Another five acres of permanent green space was added to New York City yesterday with the opening of Pier 3 in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Now 90 percent complete, the beloved, 85-acre waterfront parkland designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates is almost finished after nearly 20 years in the making. The project is the final pier of the formerly industrial site to be turned into green space and features a rolling landscape of shrubs and over 500 trees. It also includes one of the largest open spaces in the entire park, a great lawn reminiscent of the seminal one found within Central Park in Manhattan. Laid out at the northern edge of the pier is an exploratory labyrinth garden with hedges of varying sizes. It houses interactive elements like mirrored games, a walk-in kaleidoscope, a conference tube, and unique stone seating by German industrial designer Gunter Beltzig. The design was inspired by the community’s need for a more expansive hangout space within Brooklyn Bridge Park. While meandering walkways provide unmatched views of Manhattan and the other piers have settings for recreational activities, there was not a dedicated area for relaxation until now. “The center of Brooklyn Bridge Park needs an embracing green space," said landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh in a statement, “and with Pier 3 we finally have it. The bowl-like lawn provides a serene interior that I think will draw people in, acting as a complementary counterbalance to the dynamics of river and city.” Since the design for Brooklyn Bridge Park was first revealed in 2005, the 1.3 mile-long parkland has been one of the city’s best examples of land reclamation. The narrow site along the East River had been out of operation since 1983 when the rise of container shipping replaced the need for the bulk cargo shipping and storage complexes that once lined the shoreline. Under Mayor Bloomberg and Governor George Pataki, the city and state signed a joint agreement in 2002 to begin the design and development of the Park. Construction began in 2008 with reclaimed soil from the World Trade Center site. The remaining sections of the park include the recently announced Squibb Park Pool, Brooklyn Bridge Plaza, and the Pier 2 Uplands, which will add 3.4 acres to the park and is slated to begin construction this September.
New York Park for Toronto
Snøhetta and wHY Architecture among finalists for two Toronto parks
Several renowned North American firms, including New York-based practices Snøhetta and wHY Architecture, are among the ten finalists competing in an international competition to design two new waterfront parks in Toronto. Commissioned by Waterfront Toronto and the City of Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation, the projects will, when complete, add to the city's growing collection of green spaces along its harbor. Over 40 teams submitted design proposals for the York Street and Rees Street Parks, both located at the heart of the city's waterfront. The design brief for York Street Park, a two-acre piece of land situated between the southern part of Toronto's Financial District and the York Quay residential neighborhood, called for amenities like event and green space, a water feature, public art, an architectural pavilion, and accommodation for dogs. Five finalists were chosen. In 'Park Vert', Agency Landscape + Planning partnered with DAVID RUBIN Land Collective to create a green oasis for locals inspired by Toronto’s urban forest. The design is multi-layered and includes a canopy to provide summer shade, a light walkway to create an elevated experience while walking through the park, and a 'forest floor' that incorporates a water fountain and different natural materials. Stephen Stimson Associates Landscape Architects and MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects collaborated on 'York Forest', which features a massive canopy of vegetation housing a variety of human activities and natural systems. In the renderings, people, plants, and animals co-exist in an urban ecosystem. Located a few minutes east of the site for York Street Park, Rees Street Park is a 2.3-acre area set between Rogers Centre and Queens Quay West. Its brief asked entrants to design areas of play for all ages and abilities, as well as spaces for a market and other urban activities. In Stoss Landscape Urbanism and DTAH’s proposal titled 'Rees Landing', the park becomes a “testing ground for new forms of civic and ecological expression.” The architects make use of topographic moves to create an array of contrasting textures, playing with people’s experiences in the site. In 'The NEST', Snøhetta partnered with PMA Landscape Architects to create an 'experimental stage' at Rees Street Park that can be used year-round. Amenities include the Wall Crawl, the Alvar Mist, the Hammock Grove, the Backyard BBQ, and the Play Nest. The design also features retractable elements such as a glass wall that provides a seamless indoor-outdoor transition. Besides these innovative designs, the competition's public engagement process is noteworthy. A jury consisting of industry leaders will take into account feedback from local residents when determining the two winning design teams. You can view the proposals and survey the designs here. Construction of York Street Park is expected to start in 2019, while work on Rees Street Park will commence in 2020.
The shores of New York and New Jersey are, as Hurricane Sandy demonstrated in 2012, particularly vulnerable to flooding, sea level rise, and extreme weather events. Coastal construction has become more resilient (though some question to what end) and flood prevention ideas both big and small have been floated to protect the area’s shores. Now, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has proposed several different approaches to preventing flood surges using gates and berms in and around New York Harbor, and environmentalists are sounding the alarm. The proposals are part of the New York-New Jersey Harbor and Tributaries Coastal Storm Risk Management Feasibility Study, a 2,150-mile survey of the region’s most vulnerable areas. The Corps has put together five schemes—four that use storm barriers, and one “as is” projection—and is soliciting feedback from New York and New Jersey residents with a series of information sessions this week. In designing floodwalls for New York Harbor or the Hudson and East Rivers, the Corps will need to balance ecological concerns with property protection; nonprofit clean water advocacy group Riverkeeper has called the Corps “hard infrastructure” solutions, those that use concrete barriers, detrimental to the health of the harbor and its waterways. The Hudson River is technically a tidal estuary and not a full-fledged river. Salt water from New York Harbor, and in turn the Atlantic Ocean, flows back up through the Hudson and mixes with fresh water from tributaries upstate to create a nutrient-rich environment. If the Corps's plan to install a five-mile-long gate across the harbor’s mouth between Sandy Hook, New Jersey, and Breezy Point in the Rockaways came to pass, Riverkeeper argues that the barrier would slowly cut off nutrients from the harbor and prevent contaminants from washing out into the ocean. “From Day One, these offshore barriers would start to restrict the tidal flow, contaminant and sediment transport, and migration of fish. They would impede the tidal ‘respiration’ of the river. We fear that a slow death would be inflicted on the river and that in time, the barriers would slowly, but surely, strangle the life out of the river as we know it.” The Corps alternative plans include: building berms, dunes, and seawalls across the lower-lying sections of the New York-New Jersey waterfront, with small floodgates across a few waterways; a barrier across the Staten Island-Brooklyn gap spanned by the Verrazzano-Narrows bridge and gates along Jamaica Bay; and targeted berms and seawalls across targeted low-lying coastal areas without any gates. Creating a centralized approach to flood prevention could be more effective than the piece-by-piece method currently being enacted but comes with its own set of risks. If a massive gate were installed to prevent flooding, it would need to be closed more and more frequently as sea levels rise and would increasingly cut off New York and New Jersey’s waterways from the ocean. Planning for a storm that currently has a probability of occurring once every hundred years may be futile as storms of such intensity become increasingly common. Seawalls have been linked to increased erosion, and if water builds up behind the wall, it can be hard to fully drain the affected area. The Corps is looking to identify a scheme to move forward with by the middle of this summer. However, with a possible price tag of $20 billion and several years of construction likely, whether or not the Corps can follow through is unclear. Interested New York and New Jersey residents can learn more at the following information sessions: Monday, July 9th, 3-5 PM and 6-8 PM at the Borough of Manhattan Community College in Tribeca, Richard Harris Terrace (main floor) 199 Chambers St, New York, NY 10007 Tuesday, July 10th, 3-5 PM and 6-8 PM at Rutgers University-Newark Campus, PR Campus Center, 2nd Floor, Essex Room 350 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Newark, NJ 07102 Wednesday, July 11th, 6-8 PM at the Hudson Valley Community Center in Poughkeepsie, Auditorium Room 110 South Grand Avenue, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603