When it comes to plazas and parks, Los Angeles–area landscape architects and designers have big plans for the future. The region is slowly warming up to the possibility of a more pedestrian-oriented urbanism, and, as a result, public spaces old and new are being imagined to suit that potential future. And while the region is adding plenty of new parks—the new Los Angeles State Historic Park, the ever-expanding Grand Park by Rios Clementi Hale Studios (RCH Studios), and the now-iconic Tongva Park by James Corner Field Operations come to mind—attention is now beginning to shift toward redefining the public plaza as it is practiced in L.A. One experiment comes from RCH Studio’s renovations to the Music Center plaza, originally designed by landscape architects Cornell, Bridgers, and Troller in association with Welton Becket and Associates in 1967. The stepped concrete plaza currently contains a Jacques Lipchitz–designed sculpture at its center, the art object surrounded by a maze of sunken courtyards, large planter boxes, and interactive fountains. RCH Studios plans to revamp the plaza to make the space more ADA-compliant while also bringing pedestrian energy from bustling Grand Avenue up into the plaza. The complex is on the same street as the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Broad Museum and sits on axis with Grand Park and City Hall, relationships that the designers wanted to emphasize and perfect over the course of their renovations. Bob Hale, partner at RCH Studios, said, “Creating open space in L.A. is a very different thing than doing so in other places,” explaining that one of the goals of the renovations was to make the plaza hospitable enough to function as a “fifth venue” to complement the four existing concert halls and performance spaces on the site. The proposed 50,000-square-foot plaza—scheduled to reopen in 2019—will be completely flat, punctuated at its corners by pavilions containing a full-service restaurant, a cafe, a bar, permanent public restrooms, and a welcome kiosk. The project will also involve replacing existing—and over-pruned—ficus trees with new Agonis Flexuosa trees that will help create a more comfortable plaza as their canopies fill out. In Culver City, SWA Principal Gerdo Aquino and his team are working to create a new central square for the city on top of what was once a dusty parking lot. The firm’s Culver Steps project—created in partnership with EYRC architects and Hackman Capital Partners—is part of a podium-style development that will bring a new 55,000-square-foot stepped plaza with generously landscaped open spaces to the city’s core. The ascendant plaza will sit above a new underground parking garage and will share ground floor areas with a bevy of storefronts. A so-called “grand staircase” is to run up the slope, flanked by pockets of seating areas. The summit of the jaggedly stepped promenade will contain restaurants on one side and a four-story office structure on another. In all, the superblock- size project will unite a mix of squares and promenades served by the commercial and office spaces. “Many American cities are reimagining their city centers, sometimes in unconventional locations and ways,” Aquino explained. “The city and the major stakeholders have always considered the plaza as something that could be ‘out of the box’ and not tied down to any one precedent.” Landscaping for the plaza is inspired by the Sierra Nevada Mountains and will contain more conventional plantings along its lowest levels, with increasingly showy and diverse species of shade trees and evergreens up the steps and at the top of the structure. Ultimately, the steps will open in 2019 with the aim of creating a bustling and interactive plaza “filled with as many trees as possible.”
Posts tagged with "James Corner Field Operations":
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has unveiled a speculative design proposal that aims—among many aspects—to populate the San Francisco Bay with floating villages as part of an effort to buttress the region against climate change–induced flooding. The proposal is undertaken with One Architecture + Urbanism (ONE) and Sherwood Design Engineers and is among a slate of ten newly-announced schemes generated for the Resilient By Design Bay Area Challenge, a regional competition aimed toward generating ideas for how to best protect the Bay Area from rising sea levels. Projections for the region call for a minimum of four feet in sea level rise under moderate warming conditions by 2100. The changes would bring flooding to the area much more frequently than is currently the case, a development that would devastate coastal communities. Many of those communities are built atop landfills over former marsh areas and tidal zones. BIG’s proposal takes two routes in its effort to achieve its ambitious goals. First, the plan calls for restoring Islais Creek—a stubby inlet on the San Francisco side of the Bay sandwiched between the Dogpatch and Hunters Point neighborhoods—as part a larger plan for retrofitting the entire San Francisco Bay’s edge. BIG’s conceptual masterplan for the San Francisco Bay envisions restoring the wetlands along the water’s edge lost to development while redistributing new population centers into the bay to create an urban archipelago connected by public ferries. The plan also proposes relocating and expanding the existing network of industrial, port, and warehouse activities into more compact configurations surrounded by trails, marshes, and parkland. The scheme also calls for modernizing a stretch of Interstate-101 as a “machine for autonomous collective transit,” as explained by BIG founder Bjarke Ingels in a presentation video. The plan would create a Bus Rapid Transit loop in the south Bay that will anchor and connect new density nodes. The plan would extend to the southern edges of the Bay, as well, where existing salt palm and tidal marsh areas will be revisioned into experimental urban agriculture zones. The proposal is joined by schemes from James Corner Field Operations and Hassell+, among other multidisciplinary groups, and follows a year-long research period that brought together designers, landscape architects, planners, politicians, and community activists from across the region. For more information, see the Resilient by Design: Bay area Challenge website.
Kengo Kuma and Associates and Natoma Architects have been added to the project team for the recently-revealed 1111 Sunset Boulevard development slated for the former Metropolitan Water District (MWD) headquarters on the edge of Downtown Los Angeles. The announcement of the expanded team—which also includes SOM and James Corner Field Operations (JCFO)—came this week along with a fresh set of renderings for the 5.5-acre project. With the project, Los Angeles–based developer Palisades is looking to transform a derelict section of William Pereira’s MWD headquarters into a 778-unit mixed-use enclave containing retail, public open spaces, and a boutique hotel designed by Kuma. The development consists of three high-rise towers that sit atop a continuous and permeable podium spanning the sloped site. According to the renderings, the complex will contain a cluster of low-rise apartments at one corner surrounding underground parking for a pair of housing towers. As those apartments terrace up the hill, they will give way to a shared plaza at the base of the high-rise towers. Project renderings depict a pair of 30- to 40-story tall towers along this section of the site. Each of the towers rises from the podium on a gigantic pod containing a solid, monolithic core. Roughly five stories up, the tower’s typical floor plates begin to cantilever over the plaza, leaving an open viewshed several stories high from the plaza. The move is an attempt by the designers to minimize the heft of the project along its lower levels and an effort, as well, to preserve certain views for existing hillside residences located directly behind the development. The renderings also depict certain portions of the Pereira structure reused as ground floor amenity spaces. JCFO is developing the project’s more than two acres of landscaped areas. In terms of plantings, renderings depict clusters of palm trees, jacaranda trees along the street, and succulent-bordered lawn areas overlooking Downtown Los Angeles. The project will share the site with Linear City’s Elysian tower development, a portion of the existing Pereira-designed complex that David Lawrence Gray Architects repurposed in 2014. 111 Sunset is among several high-rise, high-density projects slated for the area. An official timeline for the project has not been released. See the project website for more information.
AIA|NYS has named Brooklyn-based nARCHITECTS as the 2017 Firm of the Year. Established in 2005, this yearly award highlights a firm in New York State that has made"notable achievements in design, community service, education and service to the profession and the AIA." nARCHITECTS, led by Principals Eric Bunge, AIA, and Mimi Hoang, AIA, was founded in 1999. The firm has been recognized for its work in pushing the boundaries of architecture through innovative concepts, awareness of social responsibility, and the successful incorporation of technology within their designs. AIA|NYS stated in their press release, “The team has proven through their innovative design approach that they are a leader in the profession, noted by their peers and capturing the attention of the design world.” The firm has completed several notable projects within and outside of New York City. Projects in New York include Carmel Palace, New York City‘s first entirely micro-unit apartment complex, and The Switch Building in Lower Manhattan, a mixed-use apartment and gallery space which displays a creative approach to the area's zoning regulations and features distinct angular facade elements in a modern interpretation of the classic New York bay window. Projects outside the state, such as the redesigns of Chicago’s Navy Pier, Seattle's Waterfront and Cleveland’s Public Square, in collaboration with James Corner Field Operations as design lead, highlight the firm's strengths in merging building and public space design within existing urban landscapes.
REX has bestowed a shiny new skin on a late Brutalist office building that was, until recently, one of the ugliest buildings in Manhattan. Up until the renovation, the building was known as the elephant's foot, in dubious honor of a horrific 1980s renovation that left the elegant concrete structure clad in brown metal panels and beige paint. Now called 5 Manhattan West, the building has undergone yet another makeover, spearheaded by REX, to update its facade with the latest in form-fitting fenestration. The Brooklyn-based firm ultimately devised a pleated glass facade that ripples down the building like a stretched ziggurat to flood the large, open interiors with light. These pleats are composed of panels angling out toward each other from the floor and ceiling, a design driven by the need to mitigate the structure’s slope, which limited the leasable space along the interior perimeter. But the unique form is more than just window dressing. According to Joshua Prince-Ramus, REX's founding principal, “What’s interesting about the geometry is that the sun doesn’t hit the lower piece of glass, so we can have a building that is transparent and simultaneously energy efficient." Prince-Ramus praised REX's client, Brookfield, for its holistic approach to sustainability that centered reuse—not just LEED-level performance. "In our lifetimes, adaptive reuse is going to be the stuff from which we make 'capital A Architecture,'" he said. The pleating also complied with ADA standards for head strike, allowing for uninterrupted exterior views while maximizing tenants' floorspace, and allowed the designers to rigorously test the concrete from the 1960s, which was cast using different standards from today. The structural maneuvering honestly exposed concrete from Davis Brody's (now Davis Brody Bond) original design, a move that was especially evident on the east-west breezeway. The renovation was done with tenants in place, on a feverish nights-and-weekends schedule. Although some floors have yet to welcome new tenants like J.P. Morgan Chase and Amazon, 5 Manhattan West's common spaces and outdoor areas by James Corner Field Operations are largely complete. The squat, 1.7-million-square-foot structure features ground level retail, a two-story elevated breezeway on the southern side, and a full interior renovation, with open floor plates ranging from 86,000 to 124,000 square feet (no, that's not a typo). With ceiling heights from 15 to 17.5 feet, the super-sized office spaces allow the old-new building to compete with Hudson Yards' office spaces, which feature large, and largely column-free, interiors. Adamson served as executive architect for the $350 million project. The 5 Manhattan West re-clad slots the office building squarely into Brookfield Office Properties’ Manhattan West development. Bounded by Ninth Avenue to Tenth Avenue and 31st Street to 33rd Street, Manhattan West encompasses nearly six million square feet across six buildings.
This story is part of a monthlong series of guests posts by AIA New York that feature Archtober Building of the Day tours. See the full 2017 schedule here. On Sunday, Archtober toured Freshkills Park, a former New York City landfill on Staten Island redeveloped into a 2,200-acre green space. Our tour guide was Mariel Villeré, the Manager for Programs, Arts and Grants at Freshkills Park. She gave us insights into the park’s history, design, and construction. An NYC Parks minibus picked us up from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal for the 30-minute ride to the site. After signing our waivers and traveling some distance over sanitation department roads, we arrived at the Visitor Center. Here, Villeré delved into the history of the site and the project. Until the mid-20th century, Freshkills Park was a wetland. In 1948, Robert Moses chose this supposedly “useless” site to create a landfill, which by 1955 was the largest in the world. The waste was dumped into four huge mounds, North, South, East and West, which today form the basis of the park’s landscape. The waste dump, which all five boroughs used, was officially ordered to close in 1996, and the last barge of refuse was sent to Freshkills after the World Trade Center attack in 2001. (The boroughs now have separate contracts with outside landfills; Staten Island’s garbage, for example, is shipped to South Carolina). In 2001, the Freshkills Park Alliance and NYC Parks launched a competition for a site masterplan, which James Corner Field Operations won. Their plan proposed the four distinct areas of the park based on the garbage mounds, along with a central area, known as the Confluence. Our tour focused on North Park, which recreates and strengthens the site’s wetlands and creeks. The entire site is two-and-a-half times the size of Central Park. In North Park, we took in the stunning views over Staten Island to Manhattan on the north and the rest of Freshkills Park to the south. Villeré discussed the vision behind the park’s design, noting how they needed to balance the recreation of the former habitat with the understanding that the site’s ecology and meaning have been irrevocably changed by 50 years of trash. While the garbage is under several layers of topsoil, no attempt is made to downplay the typical mound shape of the landfill. This creates an ecological opportunity in the northeast, where the drive for reforestation sometimes sidelines open spaces and wetlands. The diversity of the park has increased dramatically over the last few years, with over 100 species of birds now counted at the site. Villeré outlined the manifold challenges of creating a park on top of a landfill. Landfills generate two byproducts: landfill gas and leachate. At Freshkills, landfill gas is funneled into treatment facilities where its components, methane and CO2, are separated. The methane is piped into the New York City gas grid. The other product, leachate, is the liquid that forms, on a small scale, at the bottom of a trash bag. At Freshkills, permeable pipes laid in concrete ditches at the bottom of each mound collect the leachate. It is then treated and separated into leachate cakes, a highly concentrated substance, and clean water. We also drove by a flare station, which is a backup in case there is an issue with the system piping methane into the grid. Since the site is so huge, the project is necessarily phased. These phases are arranged from the outside in order to give back to the surrounding community, which was negatively impacted by the dump. The timeline has therefore prioritized small, demonstrable projects along the park’s edges. So far, some wetland restoration, Owl Hollow soccer fields, the New Springville Greenway, and the renovation of Schmul Park have been completed. We got a view of Schmul Park in the Travis neighborhood just to the west of the park. The redesign of a Moses-era blacktop playground–also by James Corner Field Operations–is now vibrantly colorful, packed with children and families on the warm October day. It is a blueprint for the success of an extraordinary project that will transform not only an extraordinary site, but how we think about the relationship between waste and nature in New York and beyond.
In a surprise move, SOM and James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) are coming together to transform the long-dormant William Pereira–designed Metropolitan Water District headquarters in Los Angeles’s Chinatown neighborhood. Los Angeles–based developer Palisades announced the design team on Tuesday via press release, explaining that the firms would work together to convert the historic late modernist structure into a “a mixed-use project focused on innovative design, open space and community.” The release explained that SOM design directors Paul Danna and José Luis Palacios would spearhead designs for the adaptive reuse portion of the project. JCFO will be responsible for the landscape design, including the site’s public open spaces. In the press release, Palacios said, “At the heart of this project is a desire to reflect the spirit and the history of this property through a modern, forward-thinking lens that embraces the Downtown site’s adjacency to Chinatown, Bunker Hill, Echo Park, and the Civic Center.” Palacios added, “It’s a challenge we are confident and energized to embrace.” The firm has its work cut out with the tower-and-matt project, as the expressive cast concrete structure—originally built between 1961 and 1973—has sat vacant for years. A tower portion of the sprawling complex was redeveloped starting in 2014 as a mixed-use development called The Elysian by Linear City Development and David Lawrence Gray Architects. The development includes 120,000 square feet of retail and 96 live/work units. The matt remaining portions of the complex have languished in tandem and were almost demolished entirely last year under previous development efforts. A brief but unsuccessful effort was made to landmark the structure, but the building’s nomination was left unapproved by city agencies. Potential reuse of the structure, however, represents a bright spot in Pereira’s fading legacy, as many of the notable architect’s other works have—or soon will—fall to the wrecking ball. Historian and Pereira scholar Alan Hess told The Architect's Newspaper, "MWD was a key turning point in Pereira’s long and influential career as he sought to maintain the vitality of Modern architecture while adapting to the realities of the 1960s. No place was better suited to understand these realities than Los Angeles. As one of the city’s innovative architects, Pereira designed the striking MWD to be true to Modernism's principles while creating a livelier, more human environment." Hess added, "Nothing would be more appropriate than for Palisades [than] to continue Pereira's spirit of innovation by showing how adaptive reuse addresses the prime need of our times: sustainability." Kim Cooper, preservation advocate with Esotouric told AN, "We're encouraged to see such a good team assigned to this important structure, and that the site's long and influential past is on their mind. Preservation and restoration of the Pereira structure's great bones can definitely be a part of any redevelopment project, and we look forward to being part of that conversation." Designs for the project are currently under development and a timeline for project completion has not been released. See the project website for more information. SOM’s Danna and Palacios will both be presenting at the upcoming Facades+ conference in Los Angeles taking place October 19th and 20th. See the Facades+ website for more information.
At The Architect’s Newspaper, we’re plain addicted to Instagram. Sure, we love seeing Brutalist concrete through “Inkwell” or “Ludwig” filters, but there’s also no better place to see where architects are getting their inspiration, how they’re documenting the built environment, and where they’ve traveled of late. Below, we bring you some of the best Instagrams of this past week! (Also, don’t forget to check out our Instagram account here.) A new exhibit on the historical iterations and potential of scaffolding went up at the Center for Architecture, and Shohei Shigematsu of OMA was the exhibition's lead designer. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZmIjN-hQh0/?taken-by=centerforarch A short hop across the East River, the Noguchi Museum is gearing up for the October 25 opening of Gonzalo Fonseca's architectural sculptures, many carved from stone. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ1f0wpHH1F/?taken-by=noguchimuseum SO-IL's Florian Idenburg paid a visit to a panopticon prison in Haarlem, Netherlands called Kijk in de Koepel. His visit was timed perfectly with two news bits that had us chuckling this week: One upsettingly real (Jeremy Bentham's literal severed head displayed in an upcoming exhibit), and the other pure satire (meet Synergon). https://www.instagram.com/p/BZoAOCVn8AC/?taken-by=florianidenburg Andrés Jaque, founder of Office for Political Innovation, posted the opening of his new exhibit titled Transmaterial Politics, which opened at Tabacalera Madrid on September 28. Poppy and probing as always. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZpq6FJAz4E/?taken-by=andres_jaque MAD Architects threw us back to their Ordos Museum in inner Mongolia, a mass of organic and rigid forms cloaked under an undulating shell of metal tiles. Without wanting to, we will imagine it springing to life at night and prowling the Gobi Desert under a shrouded moon, much like Gehry museums (wherever they live). https://www.instagram.com/p/BZnkPdyFNdq/?taken-by=madarchitects Geoff Manaugh, author of BLGBLOG, visited the extremely Instagrammable Mirage by Douglas Aitken in the California Desert which is clad with mirrors both inside and out. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ4WEW5j_M1/?taken-by=bldgblog The DesignPhiladelphia conference shared their city's redeveloped Navy Yards, landscaped by James Corner Field Operations. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZy-YJzF9WA/?taken-by=designphilly This last one is short and sweet, and we tell you this only because of the crushing guilt that would consume us otherwise. Winka Dubbeldam ate a grasshopper. https://www.instagram.com/p/BZ0lE02BVh9/?taken-by=winkadub That’s it for today, hashtag archilovers and quote-on-quote gallerinas. See you next week for more drama.
While many architects moon over biennials and architecture festivals, these shows are often a bit esoteric for the general public. The Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB) is no exception. Amidst the complex discussions and abstract installations, the average visitor may enjoy the show, but also feel a bit disconnected. However, there is one show at CAB that anyone would find accessible. Located in EXPO 72 across the street from the Chicago Cultural Center, the exhibition, Chicago Urban River Edges Ideas Lab, presents the visions of nine firms for the Chicago River. Chicago Urban River Edges Ideas Lab was initiated by the City of Chicago’s Department of Planning and Development and the Metropolitan Planning Council to solicit proposals for the city’s quickly evolving riverfront. Firms participating in the show include David Adjaye, James Corner Field Operations, Perkins + Will, Ross Barney Architects, Sasaki, Site Design, SOM, Studio Gang Architects, and SWA. Each firm addressed three sites along the river with designs that ranged from outdoor theater spaces to water remediation and ecological classrooms. Other ideas included policy suggestions, such as SWA’s forest bonus, rather than a density bonus. Multiple offices proposed ways of engaging more closely with the river itself, including James Corner Field Operation’s softened edge and Perkins+Will’s riverside beach. The three sections of the river addressed by the show are the Civic Opera House, the Congress Parkway, and the Air Line Bridge. Each of these sites present different challenges which the city hopes to resolve. While large stretches of the riverfront have already been converted into the Chicago Riverwalk, there are over 156 miles that have yet to be developed or connected with public walkways and activity spaces. The initial downtown stretch of redeveloped space was designed by Ross Barney Architects and Sasaki, and was completed earlier this year. The exhibition, which was also designed by Ross Barney Architects, aims to engage public feedback and present ambitious yet feasible visions of the river’s future. Throughout, large renderings with texts allow visitors to compare proposals side by side. Those interested are directed to the project's extensive website to watch interviews with the architects, watch animated shorts about the proposals, and send commentary to the city and designers. “We thought this would be a great way to bring together a bunch of very creative folks, as well as help Chicagoans begin to imagine how this could work and what their place in it would be,” explained Josh Ellis, vice president of Metropolitan Planning Council at the exhibition opening. While the exhibition is not intended to be a competition, it is clear that each of the offices poured resources and brain power into the project. The Department of Planning and Development as well as the Mayor’s office have been explicit in their search for ideas for the future of the river. “This is just a snapshot of how serious each of these teams took this. These are meant to be ideas that can be realized,” said Clare Cahan, studio design director at Studio Gang at the opening. “There are things that will be attractive to communities, attractive to the city, and attractive to developers.”
Last week, the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, in partnership with the Philadelphia International Airport, announced the five finalists selected to compete in the redesign of the 130-acre landscape surrounding the airport. The competition, announced at the beginning of June, asked landscape architects to conceive of an "Image Maker" landscape that leaves a memorable and lasting impression on the city's visitors. The landscape design would offer a chance to showcase Philadelphia as "America's Garden Capital," as well as create a more sustainable landscape for the major transportation hub. The finalists are: James Corner Field Operations Of High Line (New York City) and Navy Yards (Philadelphia) acclaim, James Corner Field Operations wrote that they intended to create a design "environmentally and horticulturally extraordinary, reflective of the diverse identity of the city, feasible, phase-able and achievable." OLIN The only Philadelphia-based firm of the selection, OLIN has previously designed Bryant Park, revamped the plaza at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, landscaped Grace Farms in rural Connecticut, and participated in many other high-profile projects. Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects This New York-based firm is known for their work on Edward W. Kane Park at the University of Pennsylvania, and have done extensive work throughout the New York metropolitan region, including the Governors Island Park and public space. The firm was also collaborating with Heatherwick Studio on the recently killed Pier 55 project. West 8 A Dutch firm with offices in New York and Belgium, West 8 is familiar with airport design, having done a similar revamp for Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in 1992. Phyto Studio A niche firm from Arlington, Virginia, Phyto Studio aims to honor Philadelphia's "gutsy, gritty, and revolutionary spirit" in their design. They have completed small-scale projects for botanical gardens, residential properties, and public infrastructure across the country.
• • •Each team will receive a stipend of $20,000 to develop a plan and budget for the challenge. The final designs will be showcased at the Philadelphia Horticultural Society's annual Flower Show from March 3 – 11, 2018, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center at 12th and Arch Streets in Philadelphia. The winning design will then help to raise funds and take further steps in implementing the project.
Resilient by Design | Bay Area has chosen 10 multi-disciplinary teams to partake in the next phase of a design challenge focused on future-proofing California’s San Francisco Bay Area against the destructive effects of climate change and sea level rise. The 10 teams will partner with community members and organizations over the next nine months to develop innovative approaches for the region. The teams include several notable architecture and landscape architecture firms, including BIG, MVRDV, and James Corner Field Operations. Each of the selected teams contains at least one community member and several of the teams are entirely Bay Area–based. Resilient by Design is modeled on Rebuild by Design, a federally-funded New York City re-visioning competition held after 2012's Hurricane Sandy. The 10 selected design teams include:
BIG + ONE + SHERWOOD Bionic Team Common Ground HASSELL+ Permaculture + Social Equity Public Sediment The All Bay Collective The Field Operations Team The Home Team Team UPLIFTThe teams were each awarded $250,000 to engage in research over the next three months and to work with community members to analyze chosen sites with the eventual goal of crafting an adaptation strategy for a specific project location by May. “Resilient by Design is creating a blueprint for the world, bring together community members and experts to show how we can collectively tackle climate change,” Amanda Brown-Stevens, managing director of Resilient by Design | Bay Area Challenge, told The Architect’s Newspaper. “We know that it is time for something different, a new approach that matches our new reality but draws on who we are and what we have always been able to do: think differently, innovate, come together, and adapt.” Formal announcements for team and site pairings will be timed to coincide with California Governor Jerry Brown’s scheduled Global Climate Action Summit in December. The most recent announcement comes after the Bay Area Challenge was awarded a $4.6 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation earlier this year.
James Corner Field Operations' plans for Freshkills Park in Staten Island inched closer to fruition this week after New York City authorities awarded a $23 million contract to Lomma Construction Corporation to carry out the first phase. Occupying what was once the Fresh Kills Landfill site on Staten Island, the North Park will cover 21 acres and be open by 2020. In an email to The Architect's Newspaper (AN), a spokesperson for NYC Parks said that North Park had been identified as an area for simple recreational facilities, vast natural settings, meadows, wetlands, and creeks. "It is envisioned as a lightly programmed natural area connecting with Schmul Park in the Travis neighborhood, extending the rich habitat provided in the adjacent William T. Davis Wildlife Refuge, and capitalizing on one of the quietest and most sheltered areas of Fresh Kills," they said. Inside visitors will be able to find an observation tower from which they can look over the Arthur Kill River and watch birdlife on the marshes. When complete, Freshkills Park will be 2,200 acres—almost three times bigger than Central Park, second only to Pelham Bay Park. It will be the largest park built in New York City since the 19th century. 450 of its acres will be wetland. The Phase One work will also mean that come 2020, the public will be able to use broad pathways, "secondary paths," a seven-acre seed farm, a forested plateau, a composting comfort station (i.e. a composting public bathroom), a picnic lawn, a waterfront overlook deck, a bird observation tower, and a bicycle repair station. A parking lot for 67 spaces will also be included. Some areas of the park are now open to the public, though only during certain times of the year. According to DNAInfo, two parks connected to Freshkills have already been completed: the Richmond Avenue greenway and one entrance to North Park, Schmul Park.
Authorities expect the whole of Freshkills Park to be fully open by 2036. More information can be found on the park's website, here.