You won't be able to drink from it anytime soon, but the fetid, toxic shores of the Gowanus Canal will soon be graced with a new park that filters stormwater as it enters the canal. Designed by Brooklyn's dlandstudio in partnership with the Gowanus Canal Conservancy, the Gowanus Canal Sponge Park will be an 18,000 square foot public space on city-owned land, where Second Street meets the canal. Due to the canal's Superfund status, multiple federal, state, and city agencies are involved in environmental remediation, on and offshore (see diagram below). The $1.5 million project is publicly and privately funded: New York-based Lightstone Group will bankroll a boat launch for the Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club. The developers are planning a 700 unit residential high rise adjacent to the park. Initiated in 2008, the project stalled for seven years as funding was secured. dlandstudio chose plants for their ability to filter out biological toxins from sewage, heavy metals, and other pollutants that overwhelm the canal, especially when it rains. Floating wetlands adjacent to shore will filter runoff further. Due to the canal's Superfund status, multiple federal, state, and city agencies are involved in environmental remediation, on and offshore (see diagram above). The first phase of the park is expected to open early 2016. State and local officials plan for the Sponge Park to be part of a network of green space that will mitigate flood risk while cleaning incoming stormwater.
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The QueensWay has had a bumpy rollout. In October, when the Trust for Public Land and the Friends of the QueensWay unveiled their plan to transform an abandoned railway in Queens into something like the High Line, they were immediately faced with skepticism and criticism from around the city. That pro-QueensWay plan came with plenty of eye candy courtesy of splashy conceptual renderings from dlandstudio and WXY. This all got people asking why millions of dollars should be spent turning the rails into a fancy park when the rails could be refurbished to provide a useful commuter rail line. But the park plan has had its champions, and the New York Times can now be counted among them. “Of the two tantalizing possibilities—rail or trail—trail now has the upper hand,” wrote the Times’ editorial board in a recent piece praising the plan. It claimed that building the QueensWay would transform “a humdrum stretch of residential-commercial-industrial-whatever with the sylvan graciousness that the High Line brought to the West Side of Manhattan, but on a far bigger scale.” The board explained that the "rail" plan could actually be the more complicated of the two options largely because the project would have to be added onto the MTA's “overflowing, underfunded to-do list.” Instead, wrote the board, build the QueensWay and address commuter needs with dedicated bus lanes.
The winners of the AIA New York's biennial design competition have been been announced. The Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) committee selected from 120 proposals submitted as a part of QueensWay Connection: Elevating the Public Realm, which was intended to drum up ideas that would contribute to the proposed re-purposing of an elevated railway in Queens. Entrants were tasked with designing a vertical gateway for the elevated viaduct portion of the 3.5 mile–long track currently under consideration for the High Line treatment. A jury consisting of Claire Weisz of WXY Architecture + Urban Design, Matthew Johnson of Diller Scofidio + Renfro and project manager of the High Line, and Margaret Newman from the New York Department of Transportation among others convened on January 18th to anoint Carrie Wibert the winner and recipient of the $5000 ENYA prize. Nikolay Martynov's Queens Bilboard finished second, followed by Song Deng's Make It! Grow It! Jessica Shomekaer won the Student Prize while Queens local Hyontek Yoon received honorable mention for Upside Down Bridge. These proposals, along with others submitted to the competition will go on display July 17th in an exhibition at the Center for Architecture that will be supplemented by a series of discussion panels. The exhibit should come on the heels of the completion of the ongoing feasibility study undertaken by WXY and dlandstudio Landscape Architecture & Architecture. The project is not without its detractors, with some locals clamoring for the re-activation of the track for rail transportation as a means of alleviating congestion in the borough. Advocates of the Queensway question the feasibility of such a move and also claim that the park would link communities, improve quality of life, and enable safer bike and foot traffic.
It has been several years in the making, but now the industrial strip along Brooklyn's polluted Gowanus Canal will finally be transformed into a lush and porous green space aptly named The Gowanus Canal Sponge Park that will soak up and filter rainwater to help improve the overall water quality along the waterway. This $1.5 million project, a collaboration between the Gowanus Canal Conservancy and landscape architecture firm dlandstudio, will finally get off the ground with the help of city, state, and federal funding. While a full esplanade was initially planned for the 1.8-mile stretch along the EPA Superfund site, Bloomberg recently announced that the city's first step will be a scaled-down park right where the canal intersects with Second Street. The park takes its name from its "working landscape." Dlandstudio plans on using plants and soils to soak up toxins and heavy metals from the water. The firm will also employ strategies to reroute storm water run-off to keep the sewer system from overflowing and spilling back into the mucky canal. Floating wetlands will also be implemented to absorb contaminants and toxins from sewage. The Daily News reported that the city plans on breaking ground on the park by 2014, and hopes to open it to the public by summer of 2015.
When it comes to making the most out of city space we've all heard and witnessed the old adage "If you can't build out, build up." But what about building down? The Design Trust for Public Space, a non-profit organization that promotes innovative public spaces such as the High Line, has recently announced the launch of a new project titled Under the Elevated: Reclaiming Space, Connecting Communities. In collaboration with the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT), the Design Trust has just named a team of five fellows that aims to transform the 100 million square feet of dark, dingy, and neglected space that currently exists beneath New York City's elevated train and highway infrastructure into functional, vibrant, and inviting public spaces. “When you look at the impact the mile-and-a-half-long High Line has created, and then consider the potential of these spaces in neighborhoods across the five boroughs, you understand the magnitude of this undertaking,” said Susan Chin, executive director of the Design Trust, in a statement. In order to carry out this enormous task the Design Trust invited professional architects, engineers, designers, and urban planners to apply for five fellowships in Urban Design, Particapatory Design, Policy, Graphic Design, and Photo Urbanism. The Design Trust fellows were selected according to their experience in delivering solutions for projects similar to this undertaking, their ability to work independently and collaboratively, and their willingness to commit significant amounts of time to this project. Susannah Drake, AIA, ASLA, principal of dlandstudio architecture + landscape architecture, was awarded the Urban Design Fellowship. Drake joins the team with experience working on projects such as the BQE Trench: Reconnection Strategies for Brownstone Brooklyn, Rising Currents: A New Urban Ground, and Gowanus Canal Sponge Park. Chat Travieso, a Brooklyn-based artist and architectural designer known primarily for his interactive public art installations that challenge viewers to question their built environment, won the Participatory Design Fellowship. The Policy Fellowship was awarded to planner and urban designer Douglas Woodward, who is currently working on a project titled “The Under Line,” which aims to re-open 33 vacant lots under The Highline for public use. The Graphic Design Fellowship was bestowed to Neil Donnelly, maker of books, posters, websites, and exhibitions often within the art and architecture industry. Finally, a fifth Photo Urbanism Fellowship was awarded to Krisanne Johnson, a Brooklyn-based photographer who primarily shoots powerful images in black and white. Johnson not only won a $5,000 stipend, but will also have her photographs published at the conclusion of the project. Together the Under the Elevated project team will significantly transform New York City by cleaning up and enlivening the gloomy, underutilized spaces that currently define areas such as those beneath the BQE and Harlem's 1 train.
Reflecting the various currents of contemporary architecture and urbanism, the Architectural League of New York has announced its line-up for the 2013 Emerging Voices lecture series. The series showcases notable talent from across North America and is selected through a portfolio competition that emphasizes built work. The program has had a remarkable track record at identifying important architects. Past Emerging Voices have included Steven Holl, Morphosis, Jeanne Gang, and SHoP among many other boldface archinames. cao | perrot Studio of Los Angeles and Paris, principals Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot garciastudio of San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico, principal Jorge Garcia (pictured at the top of the post). DIGSAU of Philadelphia, principals Jules Dingle, Jeff Goldstein, Mark Sanderson, and Jamie Unkefer dlandstudio of New York, principal Susannah Drake MASS Design Group of Boston and Kigali, Rwanda, principals Sierra Bainbridge, Michael Murphy, Alan Ricks, and David Saladnick Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects of San Francisco, principals Luke Ogrydziak and Zoe Prillinger PRODUCTURA of Mexico City, principals Carolos Bedoya, Wonne Ickx, Victor Jaime, and Abel Perles SO-IL of New York City, principals Florian Idenburg and Jing Liu All lectures will be held at Scholastic Auditorium located at 557 Broadway. On March 7 the League will feature SO-IL and garciastudio. March 14 dlandstudio and MASS Design Group will lecture. DIGSAU and Ogrydziak Prillinger will speak on March 18 and March 28 will feature cao | perrot and PRODUCTURA.
Mission: Small Business, Chase bank's new program to promote new small businesses allows residents to vote for their local small businesses to be considered for a hefty $250,000 grant. Among the countless entries for the program, Brooklyn-based dlandstudio's proposal for a new plastics recycling center at the Brooklyn Navy Yard has already received 200 votes. Founded by Susannah Drake in 2005, dlandstudio has long been concerned with sustainability and the environment including a proposal for a Sponge Park along the Gowanus Canal with a permeable landscape to capture stormwater runoff and other industrial waste discharged by flooded pipes in the low-lying neighborhood. This green infrastructure alternative to costly pipes was approved by New York City's Design Commission in January. The new recycling center will accept local plastic waste to be repurposed for new green infrastructure systems similar to the Sponge Park that could be be implemented in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. The proposition is expected to enhance manufacturing, create new jobs, and manage significant waste streams. If appointed, proceeds from the Mission: Small Business grant will be used for research and execution of the project.
Glimpses of New York and Amsterdam in 2040 at the Center for Architecture (through September 10) is a clarion call for designers to redefine sustainability in architecture. Though it didn’t start with this intention, the visions of 10 young architecture firms imagining future landscapes of New York and Amsterdam raise questions about what changes are imminent for urban development and what part architects can play. The projects suggest both practical and fantastical interventions to improve the prospect of urban growth in the face of ecological, geographic, and demographic shifts. The program comes hot on the heels of the announcements of Vision 2020: New York City Comprehensive Waterfront Plan and the similar strategy-based Structural Vision: Amsterdam 2040. Curators Luc Vrolijks, Rosamond Fletcher, and Marlies Buurman’s collective ambition has been to use design and debate to link the two cities in the context of these new directives. This month, the Center for Architecture hosted a series of talks and presentations of the work by the architects and the exhibit is also at the ARCAM site in Amsterdam until August 13, which will raise new questions about potential futures. The projects responded to one of five headings: Breathing, Eating, Making, Moving, Dwelling. Breathing: Both Delva with Dingeman Deijs and W Architecture and Landscape Architecture take water as their starting point. While Delva takes the IJ estuary as a generator for energy, W Architecture’s Hudson archepelagos, made using dredge from the port, provide habitats as well as landing banks. Eating: Here, WORKac focuses on the ‘food desert’ in the Bed-Stuy and Bushwick neighborhoods of Brooklyn and maps the potentially resourceful ways of re-appropriating the streets to harvest food, from future transportation (gondola-type links) to a hybrid fish farm and greenhouse-grown plants (Aquaponics). Van Bergen Kolpa Architects imagines a Landscape Supermarket, where varieties of food can be grown and sourced in park-like environments run by city dwellers. Making: In The Refinery, Solid Objectives-Idenburg Liu (SO-IL) imagined a floating market place where robotic arms compartmentalise waste materials to mend a broken landscape. Barcode Architects on the other hand has developed a contained mega science park from which to export knowledge - “the most valuable commodity of The Netherlands in 2040” said Caro van der Venne of Barcode. Moving: Dlandstudio responds to the future need for water transportation and how this can be an opportunity to also positively affect public wellbeing as well as environmental health. Fabric’s interpretation considers a new urban fabric based on mixing uses to produce “a more complete urban program, so that our daily needs are always near.” Dwelling: The Newark Visionary Museum by Interboro Partners and Space & Matter’s We is the New I both approached the idea of sustainability as social concerns. Interboro’s projection showed a colourful scene of failed plans and possible future solutions to Broad Street’s transportation, entertainment, sports and communication demands. Similarly practical was Space & Matter’s solution to increasing diversity and social cohesion by harnessing and building around common interests.
Seemingly sliced into the asphalt of a Brooklyn street beneath the Manhattan Bridge is an unexpected glass-filled "tattoo" designed by landscape architect Paula Meijerink, founder of Boston-based WANTED Landscape. Meijerink is among eight landscape architects featured in Material Landscapes, a recently opened exhibition at the Sheldon Art Galleries in St. Louis running through January 21st, 2012. Work from the eight firms including D.I.R.T studio, dlandstudio, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, Legge Lewis Legge, PEG office, Kaseman Beckman Advanced Strategies, and ESKYIU is presented in photographs and drawings. Curator Liane Hancock, senior lecturer at Washington University in St. Louis, chose projects ranging from a vertical container garden in Hong Kong to a waterfront in Milwaukee to reflect innovative use of materials in landscape architecture and to advance landscape design in St. Louis in light of major projects such as Citygarden and the redevelopment of the St. Louis Arch grounds.