Posts tagged with "Brooklyn Bridge Park":

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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.  
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Public Art Fund announces three solo, mobile summer commissions

Public Art Fund has announced a series of projects to be on view this summer across New York City. First to be unveiled on June 9 will be Austrian artist Erwin Wurm’s Hot Dog Bus, an overstuffed converted Volkswagen Microbus that will distributing free hot dogs at multiple Brooklyn Bridge Park locations. Hot Dog Bus uses the visual language of Wurm’s Fat Car series and adapts the concept behind his 2015 Curry Bus, presented during his solo show at Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, to serve one of New York’s defining street foods. The project continues Wurm’s interest in eliding the notions of “viewer” and “participant” by creating sculpture that invite action and involvement. Another mobile and participatory installation, Tauba Auerbach’s Flow Separation, will follow Wurm’s on July 1. Inspired by the angular and energetic “dazzle” camouflage used on ships in World War I and culling upon her experience as a sign painter, Auerbach will redesign the exterior of the historic fireboat the John J. Harvey with abstract patterns inspired by experiments with fluid dynamics. The boat will be anchored at various points around the harbor and will even offer free public trips onboard. The project was co-commissioned with 14–18 NOW, a British arts organization working to commemorate the centenary of WWI. The final project to be unveiled this summer will be B. Wurtz’s Kitchen Trees, opening on August 7th. Wurtz has devised “trees” of common kitchen products growing to as much as 18 feet high and 12 feet wide, designed to respond to the specific environment of City Hall Park. The whimsical sculptures not only play with the sense of value in art by leveraging everyday objects, but also highlight Wurtz’s concern with recycling and reuse. Kitchen Trees will be Wurtz’s first public commission.
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Anish Kapoor brings an endless swirly to Brooklyn

Anish Kapoor has brought a liquid sculpture to the Brooklyn waterfront for his latest work of public art. Descension is a hot tub katabasis, an endless swirly into the depths of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The water, sculpted by a funnel, dialogues with the continuous flow of the East River and traffic over the Brooklyn Bridge in the near distance. At 26 feet in diameter, the piece, presented here by the Public Art Fund, builds on Kapoor's longtime exploration of emptiness (and could also be seen, depending on your politics, as an apt metaphor for the state of the world today.) Up close, its foamy surface—and gurgling machinations—feels peaceful. For safety reasons, a thin white rail encircles the piece to prevents toddlers and Pomeranians from drowning, but also creates distance between the visitor and the void. A video of the installation can be seen below.
Previously, Kapoor has installed Descension in Italy, India, in Paris's Seine, and in the garden at Versailles. Here in Brooklyn, “Anish Kapoor reminds us of the contingency of appearances: our senses inevitably deceive us," said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume, in a prepared statement. "With Descension, he creates an active object that resonates with changes in our understanding and experience of the world. In this way, Kapoor is interested in what we don’t know rather than in what we do, understanding that the limit of perception is also the threshold of human imagination.”
This is the nonprofit's fifth year in Brooklyn Bridge Park, but it's not the first time the Public Art Fund has exhibited work by the London-based artist. In 2006, the group brought Kapoor's Sky Mirror, a 35-foot-wide concave mirror, to Rockefeller Center.
"The fact that this is free [to visit] matters," Kapoor said, at a press conference yesterday. "We believe that art liberates us, opens us, frees us, to have it as open access is a terrific thing," a particularly rich observation from an artist who's unapologetically hoarding the blackest black on earth. Descension is on view through September 10 at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1.
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Anish Kapoor will install a dark, ominous whirlpool at Brooklyn Bridge Park

British artist Anish Kapoor will bring Descension to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The work is as dystopic as its name implies: A dark whirling funnel of water will descend down into an abyss, adjacent to the East River at Pier 1. Descension sees Kapoor's desire to coalesce negative space and energy finally realized, coming in the form of a 26-foot-wide whirlpool. To create the dark look, an all-natural black dye will be used to evoke the sensation that the water's journey is never-ending. Perimeter railing that traces the pool's circumference will stop audiences plunging into the illusory chasm, but will allow them to peer over, perhaps creating a swirling sinister phone-swallower in the process. The concept was first conceived in India (Kapoor's country of birth) at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale that ran from 2014 to 2015. There he exhibited the work as an interior piece, though later he furthered the idea in Versailles, France, exhibiting Descension as an outdoor work. Descension has also made an appearance in Italy where it was exhibited inside the Galleria Continua, a disused cinema theater. “Anish Kapoor reminds us of the contingency of appearances: our senses inevitably deceive us. With Descension, he creates an active object that resonates with changes in our understanding and experience of the world,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume in a press release. “In this way, Kapoor is interested in what we don’t know rather than in what we do, understanding that the limit of perception is also the threshold of human imagination.” The Public Art Fund—a non-profit arts organization which receives public and private support—is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. "We’re thrilled that Anish’s newest work will be a highlight of this anniversary season, more than a decade after his outdoor debut with us," added Baume. Descension will be on view from May 3 to September 10 this year.
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Pier 3, latest addition to Brooklyn Bridge Park, breaks ground

Yesterday crews broke ground on Pier 3, the latest addition to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The first section of the 85-acre park, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA), broke ground eight years ago. Since then, the New York–based firm has transformed a disused bulk cargo shipping and storage complex along the East River into a wildly successful park of sloping meadows, basketball courts and playgrounds, a kayak launch, and a marina. At a groundbreaking ceremony for the $26 million dollar pier, pictured above, attendees included firm principal Michael van Valkenburgh, outgoing Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation president Regina Myer, and local officials. The day marked another important milestone: Brooklyn Bridge Park's near-completion. As of now, the 1.3-mile-long park is 90 percent under construction or complete. “Breaking ground on Pier 3 marks a landmark achievement: The final major stage of construction to get underway at Brooklyn Bridge Park," Myer said, in a statement. "A decade ago, our 85 acres were still a barren stretch of industrial wasteland. Today, 330,000 visitors enjoy our waterfront every week and now they’ll have Pier 3—a beautiful central lawn and a fabulous play space that will transform this five acre concrete platform." The central feature of Pier 3 is its great lawn, ringed with trees and traced with walkways. The other programs—an all-ages "play labyrinth" and an events space—are organized around the main grassy expanse. Construction on the project is expected to be complete in 2018.
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Claire Weisz on WXY’s reimagining of the Brooklyn Strand

From a pedestrian perspective, Downtown Brooklyn and its waterfront have an odd relationship. Despite the Brooklyn Bridge’s looming (literally) presence in DUMBO, the area’s potential to become an idyllic promenade and an active space has never quite been realized.

Now, however, New York practice WXY architecture + design—who specializes in planning, urban design, and architecture–is proposing to connect DUMBO, Downtown, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. As part of a public-private scheme, in collaboration with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership (DBP), WXY’s project, the Strand, sets about creating views within the site, giving it an identity while creating a place that puts pedestrians first.

WXY principal Claire Weisz said that the first thing her practice sought to do was to see what connections needed to be reestablished with a focus on who they should serve. “One of the main priorities of the Strand effort is to privilege pedestrians and cyclists,” said Weisz. “We [looked] at what spaces used to connect and then we sought a way to reimagine and provide resources to the public spaces and places that are valued by the people living, working, and studying in this area.”

Striking a dialogue and creating a “positive sense of journey” was another key aspect of the scheme. Working with Copenhagen artist group Superflex, a responsive and pedestrian friendly scene was established: Here, functional, yet visually inspiring routes were developed, evoking the cultural and historical aspects of the area’s neighborhoods from Fulton to Farragut and the Navy Yard.

Weisz also spoke of new subway connections and the potential to develop sites around infrastructure, adding how the Gateway to Brooklyn action plan concept “demonstrated the importance of approaching access holistically.” In light of this, Weisz proposed connecting Cadman Plaza East with the walkway off the Brooklyn Bridge, thus protecting pedestrians who “have to dodge traffic at Cadman Plaza West.”

Weisz noted how the dominance of car travel has led to the emergence of “unappealing leftover public space.” Here, she explained, a “continuous city fabric where walkable, bike-able, active streets connect Downtown Brooklyn to the Waterfront” is a necessity from an infrastructure perspective.

While improved circulation is a priority, visual connectivity is also on the agenda. Weisz plans to give landmarks visual precedence to celebrate Brooklyn’s history and improve wayfinding throughout the Strand. As a result, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges are allocated framed views from within the Cadman Plaza Park, Anchorage Plaza, and Trinity Park, in order to reaffirm the sense of place throughout the Strand.

“The Strand’s identity is linked to not losing the layers of history that made Brooklyn what it is today but adapting them for today’s needs,” said Weisz, who added that creating a “cohesive” identity was discussed with stakeholders.

“The main challenge of the Strand has been demonstrating the potential of spaces that are currently invisible to the public,” said Weisz. “Whether it be spaces around, over, or under highways [or] a new vantage for accessing and experiencing the Brooklyn Bridge, residents can look forward to a rejuvenated place that realizes the potential for the Strand to better connect downtown Brooklyn.”

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SITU Studio crafts unique, textural concrete panels for One John Street in Brooklyn Bridge Park

From the glass-encased lobby of One John Street, residents will be able to take in some incredible views: The 12-story, 42-unit condominium is located on the eastern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park, and the Manhattan Bridge soars over the East River just a stone’s throw away. In fact, Alloy, the building’s architects and co-developers with Monadnock Development, scaled up the windows and the floors to combat the increased noise pollution and solar exposure. But Alloy wanted more than just a glass box on the East River, so it tapped Brooklyn-based SITU Studio. “They came to us to create these sculptural panels that wrap around the structural core of the building,” said SITU Studio partner Wes Rozen.

SITU Studio, the firm behind the new Brooklyn Museum entrance, the NYSCI Design Lab, and the Heartwalk in Times Square, has a heavy emphasis on fabrication and material experimentation in their practice. For this project, the creative process began with a building being torn down: The Tod Williams and Billie Tsien–designed American Folk Art Museum. “We [SITU and Alloy] both were sad to see [the museum] go,” said Rozen. “So that was an inspiration for what we were trying to achieve, just in terms of the texture in the concrete. From there, we began by looking at various things we could cast to get texture: different types of plastics, fabrics, things that we could put underneath or on top of the fabric, to create different patterns and textures. We wanted something organic.”

SITU Studio undertook several months of experimentation in a rented space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard (its other fabrication spaces were at capacity). Early on, the firm challenged itself to create panels where the artists’ hands weren’t too visible: “We wanted a texture that seemed like it could’ve been just found in nature,” said Rosen. “We wanted to author the process, but the materials themselves would be given the freedom to do what they wanted.” Eric Weil of Oso Industries, a Brooklyn-based studio whose specialties include concrete installations, consulted and assisted during the fabrication process.

The team found their wabi sabi sweet spot with a mixture of salt and beeswax. For each panel, SITU Studio stretched acetate over a sheet of crumpled paper on a table; this surface created a gently irregular topography to cast against. After encasing the acetate on four sides with a one-inch-deep casting formwork, they poured pools of melted beeswax on the acetate, along with pellets of beeswax and salt granules to achieve a fine texture. SITU Studio then poured on concrete (colored with black pigment) that was further reinforced by mixed in loose fiberglass, and a carbon-fiber mesh overlay.

Once dried for three days, the panels were heated inside a custom-made oven that could angle upward. “The reason why the oven lifts is so that, as the wax is heated and melts out of the panels, it stains these vertical lines, little drip lines, into the concrete, which is something we were excited about as a subtle feature,” said Rozen. After that, the wax and salt could be easily dissolved or washed out.

The end result looks like it’s been pulled from a blast furnace or a foundry wall: “In the right light, the panels look almost metallic where the concrete has cured against the acetate,” Rosen said. Other parts of the surface are cratered and pockmarked like a lunar surface. In total, 63 panels from 17 to 11.5 feet tall (all two feet wide) stand in the lobby facing John Street and within the stairs around the core. They will also be visible from the street when the building opens this summer.

RESOURCES Concrete Services OSO Industries

General Contracting and Construction Management Monadnock Construction

Structural Engineers De Nardis Engineering, LLC

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State to city: No towers in BK Bridge Park. City: “We’re building anyway”

New York State: "There may be no new towers in Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 6, sorry." New York City: “We’re building them anyway.”

State officials announced this week that, due to investigations into Mayor Bill de Blasio's alleged pay-to-play deals with developers, the two residential towers (which included a preschool and affordable housing) planned for the waterside park will not likely be moving forward. If the city has its way, though, the towers will move ahead.

Empire State Development, New York State's primary economic development agency, withdrew support for the agreement, citing potential issues with the developers of the apartment building. State officials noted that the lead developer, RAL Development Services, made a $10,000 contribution in May 2015 to the Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit that supports the mayor's initiatives, like universal pre-K. RAL and co-developer Oliver’s Realty Group were selected from 14 proposals submitted to the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, the nonprofit responsible for operating the park, at the end of last June.

Jonah Bruno, a spokesman for Empire State Development, said: “We will not move forward with any changes until we are fully confident that all newly raised concerns have been addressed,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

The city was surprised—stunned, even—by the state's about-face, calling the reasons for the reversal "completely specious."

As early as late last week, state and city officials had reached an agreement for the space adjacent to the East River, despite an undercurrent of community opposition. It is possible that the deal can be salvaged if the community's concerns around additional development in the park, and the main developer issue, can be resolved to the satisfaction of all stakeholders.

Judi Francis, president of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Defense Fund, told WSJ that she hoped New York State would “'do the right thing' and reject the proposed changes 'and all housing on Pier 6.'”

Just hours later, however, The New York Times reported that the city intends to move ahead with the towers. “We’re going forward anyway,” said Alicia Glen, the deputy mayor for housing and economic development, to the Times on Tuesday. “We stand by the rationale for the project. It puts the park in a better position to address its maritime and capital needs. And we have an obligation to build affordable housing, particularly in these expensive and rapidly changing neighborhoods.” Glen is also chairwoman of the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation.

The park is supposed to self-finance with development like the proposed towers: A 12-story building with 188 apartments (131 affordable) and a 26-story market-rate structure with of 116 condos, designed by ODA. The developer will pay the city $98 million, plus a small annual rent, for the privilege of building on the property.

Councilman Stephen Levin and State Senator Daniel L. Squadron, two of the district's representatives, note that to build on Pier 6, the city still needs state approval for the amendment to the project plan.

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Downtown Brooklyn Partnership releases new report on robust development in Downtown Brooklyn

On its tenth anniversary, the local nonprofit development corporation Downtown Brooklyn Partnership has released a report that details just how well the development of downtown Brooklyn is going. Downtown Rising: How Brooklyn became a model for urban development demonstrates how, since its 2004 rezoning, private investors have put more than $10 billion into Downtown Brooklyn. The report was commissioned by the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership and produced by the Rudin Center for Transportation Policy at NYU. “Downtown Brooklyn has harnessed its determined capacity for creative change to undergo a true rebirth over the past decade,” said Tucker Reed, president of the Partnership. “This report demonstrates just how far strong civic leadership can go when it’s bolstered by smart public investment, and provides the first definitive account of how we came so far, so fast—and where we need to go from here.” At a panel hosted at NYU and moderated by Professor of Urban Policy and Planning Mitchell L. Moss last week, Reed, Joe Chan (executive vice president, Empire State Development Corporation), Regina Myer (president, Brooklyn Bridge Park), and Hugh O'Neill (president of economic consulting firm Appleseed) discussed the report and next steps for downtown Brooklyn. Since the creation of a central business district in the Group of 35 report, Downtown Brooklyn has transformed itself into a tech hub, a center of arts and culture, a nexus of higher education. Between 2000 and 2013, the district's population grew by 17 percent. The number of residents with a bachelor's degree nearly doubled, and median household income grew by 22 percent. Reed mentioned that, as part of its community development goals, the Partnership "is working on workforce development" to close a skills and opportunity gap among residents without a college degree. The report has five recommendations for continued growth which center on clearing barriers for development through incentives and flexible zoning, as well as greater investment in transportation, the arts, and public space:
  1. Downtown Brooklyn and the city should ensure that innovative new companies have room to grow through increased—and targeted—commercial office space investment.
  2. The city should learn from the 2004 rezoning of the area, which allowed flexible permissive zoning and land use policies and resulted in a surge in development. The city should avoid trying to achieve narrowly defined policy objectives by enacting overly detailed zoning restrictions and prescriptions.
  3. The city should continue to invest in innovative public space improvements, such as the Brooklyn Strand initiative and completion of Brooklyn Bridge Park, that make Downtown Brooklyn a more attractive place to live, work, invest, do business, and visit.
  4. Developers and property owners, non-profit organizations, and the city need to work together to ensure that cultural institutions, arts organizations, and individual artists can continue to play a vital role in the ongoing transformation of Downtown Brooklyn.
  5. The city needs to address long-standing gaps in the area’s transportation networks, including lack of transit access to the Brooklyn Navy Yard, difficulties in getting between the core of Downtown Brooklyn and the waterfront, and the scarcity of good options for travel between existing and new waterfront neighborhoods and growing concentrations of jobs along the East River.
What do you think: Will these strategies keep the neighborhood on its upward development trajectory, or is the celebratory document failing to consider downsides like the loss of affordable housing and the decimation of independent retail on Fulton Street?
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Archtober Building of the Day 11> Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park 150 Furman Street, Brooklyn Maryann Thompson Architects It was a perfect day for Archtober-ites to walk onto Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park and engage in an enlightening tour of its creation, from concept to completion. Kait Kurs from Maryann Thompson Architects began at the entrance—the threshold that separates the big city and pier. It is what makes Pier 2 an island of recreation that includes playgrounds, picnic areas, an inline skating rink, and courts for basketball, handball, bocce, and tetherball. Essentially, it is a “toy box” for the larger park. The pier was originally built by New York Dock Company in the 1950s and operated by Port Authority of New York & New Jersey. Kurs mentioned that the team found bullet casings and black burn marks on the concrete when they started working on the project – remnants of the Port Authority police training. Instead of tearing down the pier and its history, the team chose to adaptively reuse the existing building as the most profound form of recycling. The columns and roof structure were refurbished, but all the walls were removed to bring bright light into the interior. For additional support, large box trusses were added without disturbing the existing form. Polycarbonate skylights inserted into the gables cast a diffused light across the site. Subtractions of roof create voids of sky and open views of Lower Manhattan. The industrial look has been maintained to reference the pier’s past use and landscape. Among the biggest challenges in creating the pier were its drainage system and program. The drainage system was solved by creating a water tank below the entrance to the pier. As for the program, a horizontal layering was used as an organizational strategy for the dispersion and sequence of programming. The space is negotiated with a series of full-height, stainless-steel screens that partially contain “interior” programs, yet allow a visual transparency. Picnic tables are interspersed with various sport courts, alternating between spaces of activity and rest. Apart from that, the perimeter of the pier is a 30-foot-wide promenade that offers magnificent views of Lower Manhattan and the New York Harbor. Pier 2 is a much-needed paradise within the bustling city. Archie Srinivasan is an Archtober Coordinator at the Center for Architecture.
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Exclusive Video> Inside the Empire Stores mid-transformation in Dumbo

As Dumbo has become one of New York City’s most desirable and upscale neighborhoods, the hulking Empire Stores complex has been a persistent reminder of the neighborhood's industrial past—before the boutiques, multimillion-dollar apartments, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. The complex—a series of seven buildings—dates back to the 19th century and was originally used to store dry goods, primarily coffee. For decades, it has been positioned in Dumbo like an impenetrable fortress—a barrier between the cobblestone streets and the landscaped waterfront. But that's about to change. https://youtu.be/Bzhb1WBUNps In 2013, after many failed attempts to revive the Empire Stores, Midtown Equities (with Rockwood Capital and HK Organization) was selected by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation, to transform the warehouses into a mixed-use facility. (To fund the park’s upkeep, development sites along the park are being leased to developers.) Plans for the transformation were originally drawn up by STUDIO V which proposed exposing much of the buildings’ original details, creating a rooftop addition, and cutting an open-air courtyard through the complex. In Spring 2014, S9 Architecture, a Perkins Eastman affiliate, was brought onto the project as well. While the architectural plans have changed throughout the process, the signature moves like the central courtyard and rooftop addition (with some tweaks) have been preserved. "I'm especially excited how closely the soon to be finished building remains true to our design from the original competition to the final details:  the dramatic vertical slice of the courtyard with its bridges and suspended stairs, sharp profiles of glass and steel at the courtyard and addition, to the explosion of space and views of the rooftop park overlooking the Manhattan skyline," said Jay Valgora, founder and principal of STUDIO V, in an email to AN. The restored Empire Stores will  include restaurants, offices, retail, a food hall, event spaces, and a rooftop beer garden. The full complex is scheduled to be completed in the spring. As construction continues at the Empire Stores, The Architect’s Newspaper got a look inside the site with Navid Maqami, a design principal at S9.
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ODA bucks a shortlist of 14 firms to design pair of controversial Brooklyn Bridge Park towers

Last August, the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation (BBPC) unveiled 14 proposed designs for a pair of controversial towers it planned to build near the park's southern-most pier. Under a Bloomberg-era development plan, sites along the park would be leased to private developers to finance the upkeep of Michael Van Valkenburgh's 85-acre green space. These two towers near Pier 6 represented the last piece of the development puzzle. Proposals for the two sites came  from some of architecture's heavy hitters like Bjarke Ingels, Morris Adjmi, Pelli Clarke Pelli, and Selldorf Architects. But now, nearly a year later, the BBPC has picked a design for the project by a firm not included in that original group: ODA Architecture. Unsurprisingly, the firm is sticking with its boxy aesthetic for its Pier 6 design. The taller of the two structures, containing 192 market-rate condos, rises to 285 feet. It features factory-style windows and triple-height cutouts punched into its facade. The smaller building tops out at 125 feet and has a mix of market-rate and affordable units, as well as a 75-seat pre-kindergarten. The height of both buildings has been lowered by 30 feet in response to public outcry over their size. Their size, though, has been just one of the controversies surrounding this development. A local group called People for Green Space sued to stop the plan after Mayor Bill de Blasio pushed to increase the percentage of affordable units within the project to 30 percent. The group argued that the inclusion of affordable housing went against the original funding scheme, and thus required an additional environmental review an amendment to the decade-old General Park Plan. People for Green Space and the BBPC settled this spring. At the time, the New York Times reported "the group was denied the environmental review, but it prevailed in its demand that the park corporation formally amend its plan." The agreement cleared the path for the project to move forward. It is being developed by RAL Development Services (RAL) and Oliver’s Realty Group. When asked why none of the original 14 designs, or architects, were selected for this project, a spokesperson for the Brooklyn Bridge Park Corporation told AN in an email: “The RAL/Oliver’s plan was determined to be the best proposal by the selection committee based on the strength of its financial offer, the affordable housing component, the inclusion of generous public amenities, and a design that demonstrates excellence and creativity in architecture and recognition of the surrounding context that inspires a welcoming entrance to the Park.” If the plan is approved by the Brooklyn Bridge Park Board of Directors, construction would start next spring and wrap up in Fall 2017.