The term ‘farm-to-table’ is one that is touted across New York City, but it’s a concept that’s hard to realize for normal city residents without access to farmland (farmers markets and Whole Foods don’t count). Cue Swale: a floating food forest that's built atop a 5,000-square-foot barge that is currently docked at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 and is looking to revolutionize the food industry in the city. Founded in 2016 by artist Mary Mattingly, Swale allows visitors to forage for their own fruits and vegetables. Acting as both a piece of interactive public art and as a means to provide fresh food, Swale encourages New Yorkers to reconsider their perceptions on edible landscapes—“foodways”—and their relationship to nature. With Swale as a test case, Mattingly aims to shift policies regarding edible landscapes on public land. While there are 100 acres of community garden space in the city, there are actually 30,000 acres of park space. Picking one’s own food is illegal on New York City public land, but it is technically legal on a barge due to waterway common law. “At its heart, Swale is a call to action. It asks us to reconsider our food systems, to confirm our belief in food as a human right and to pave pathways to create public food in public space,” said Mattingly in a press release. Last year, Mattingly transformed the old construction barge by filling it with soil, edible plants, and flowers. This year, thanks to a partnership with the apple cider company Strongbow, alongside other governmental organizations, the barge added apple trees and winding paths. Using edible forestry techniques that mimic natural ecosystems and require less human maintenance, the barge allows for unlimited foraging of anything from asparagus to artichokes to blueberries. After it’s stint at Brooklyn Bridge Park is over on June 30, Swale’s next stop is Concrete Plant Park in the Bronx from July to August. For more on Swale, visit its website here.
Posts tagged with "Barges":
Chicago is getting closer to having a new piece of offshore architecture. Breakwater Chicago is the football-field-sized floating pleasure island designed by Chicago-based Space Architects + Planners for Lake Michigan. With the original capital coming from a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2014, the project is currently being reviewed by the U.S. Coast Guard for approval to move forward. The project takes its name from, and will be located within, the Chicago Harbor breakwater, a 5,321-foot-long structure surrounding the downtown. Renderings show the Breakwater located specifically in the area of the harbor locally known as the Playpen. The area is filled with pleasure boats throughout the few months weather permits. The promise of the Breakwater is that it will make this area more accessible, as currently it is almost exclusively large yachts enjoying the calm water. Breakwater president and co-founder Beau D’Arcy said he wants the project to cater to families as well as those looking to party out on the water. The Breakwater will include pools, three restaurants, and docks for pulling up in a boat. Those that do not have their own boat will be able to take a water taxi service out to the floating attraction. “We wanted it to look like something rising out of the water. Something rather than a boat or a barge that is placed on the water. Almost like an island or an oasis in a desert,” said Jay Keller of SPACE Architects + Planners about the design. The proposal also includes a multi-part sustainability plan in an attempt to be “truly [in] harmony with its environment.” The hull of the craft will include an underwater garden to help absorb potentially dangerous nutrients from the water, a common problem in the Great Lakes caused by runoff. The Breakwater is also planning to use renewable energy sources including photovoltaics, solar water heating, aqua thermal cooling, and potentially even kinetic wave power. And despite not being a building, the project will also follow LEED. standards when at all possible. While no expected launch dates have been announced, a new video gives the most complete look at the proposal so far. You can learn more about Breakwater Chicago on its website.
Party boats are common in Lake Michigan off the shores of Chicago’s more well to do neighborhoods. But local entrepreneur Beau D’Arcy wants to corner that market with Breakwater Chicago—a floating club and leisure destination anchored in the city’s downtown harbor year-round. The 33-year-old engineer told the Chicago Tribune he’s hoping to create the city’s “next Bean,” referencing Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate sculpture. To launch the project, which will cost $23 million total, D’Arcy is seeking Kickstarter donations in the amount of $30,000—one dollar for every square foot of Breakwater Chicago’s proposed plan. He hopes to take the vessel on its maiden voyage, as it were, by July 4, 2015. SPACE Architects + Planners designed the floating attraction, which would employ a large dome to shield the “tropical pool environment” during winter. Programming includes three restaurants, a bar/event space, a large swimming pool, a spa, and retail space. Breakwater would drop anchor about a mile off Navy Pier or a bit farther south in the Chicago Harbor during summer months, and be towed into shore during the winter. Private boat-owners could dock off Breakwater, while water taxis would ferry visitors without their own vessels, for a fee of about $20. The team behind Breakwater said they’ll comply with all local, state, and federal laws regarding navigable vessels on Lake Michigan, but regulatory hurdles are no afterthought for the project. “At the completion of Detailed Design, scheduled for this summer, our team should have construction drawings submitted to the U.S. Coast Guard for final review and to shipyards for final bids,” reads the project’s Kickstarter. “Once a shipyard is chosen, construction will begin so that the vessel can be delivered to Chicago late in the spring of 2015.”
As New York City's +Pool—the world’s first floating swimming pool—gets closer to the water, it was high-time for another river-based project to make itself known. The latest comes in the form of City Beach NYC, a beach-topped barge that would float in the Hudson River. The idea for the vessel comes from Blayne Ross, and it was designed and engineered by Matt Berman, and Andrew Kotchen from workshop/apd, and Nathaniel Stanton of Craft Engineering. While the project is described as a beach, it doesn’t actually offer New Yorkers the chance to swim—that is, unless they dive off the barge and into the Hudson, which is not advised. This barge, though, has more than beach chairs and umbrellas. Its sandy topper lifts up 16-feet on either side to create space for a food court, two local restaurants, changing rooms, a guest services desk, and a “kids history & marine science lab.” There is also a double-height restaurant that is “the perfect place to enjoy a leisurely lunch or dinner.” The team will be launching a Kickstarter for its project on June 19 and is aiming for a 2016 opening, the same year +Pool aims to be in the water. The race is on. [h/t Curbed]
The rumors are true: Google is building that barge docked at Treasure Island on the San Francisco Bay. Last week, the San Francisco Chronicle uncovered documents submitted to the city by By and Large, a company connected to Google, that revealed plans for a "studio and tech exhibit space." The 250-foot-long and 50-foot-tall structure is being built from welded recycled shipping containers, with the design led by two coastal firms, Gensler in San Francisco and LOT-EK in New York. The project will include over a dozen sails resembling fish fins, to help provide shade and shelter, and come foul weather, the ability to be lowered. The barge will make the rounds throughout San Francisco, stopping at several docks (each for a month), including Fort Mason, Piers 30-32, and Angel Island, among others. It will eventually make its way down to San Diego and other port cities along the west coast. The exhibit is expected to receive up to 1,000 visitors a day. Three additional barges in the works. Read more about Google's plans here.