For their third annual competition, Gowanus by Design organized Axis Civitas to explore the potential development of the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York, and to address the lack of a sustainable urban strategy that would restore and preserve the area.
The two-component competition required entrants to first map out and analyze the current conditions of the area in a Gowanus Atlas, which would be used as a planning tool and resource for future reference. Then, they used that analysis to design a supporting Urban Field Station that the public can access, which would facilitate grassroots collaboration in the local community.
After evaluations, the jury selected seven winning entries, with two prize winners and five honorable mentions.
Check 'em out below.
1ST PRIZE: BK BioReactor
by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (Matthew Seibert and Ian Quate) and Weill Cornell Medical College (Dr. Elizabeth Henaff) | New York, NY
"As a result of microbiome analysis, the BK BioReactor is an infrastructural BioNetwork designed to ensure the taxonomy and potentially unique cellular functions of microbial communities in the Gowanus Canal are catalogued and studied before dredging operations eliminate access. These investigations will continue into the future and generate an active space for visitors to inquire, investigate and project findings back to the community.
2ND PRIZE: Live Ends
by Annie Barrett Studio (Annie Barnett, Mariana Mogilevich, Lucas Bucknavage, and Grey Wartinger) | Brooklyn, NY
"By mapping fundamental characteristics of the canal - dead end streets, litter, and odors - Live Ends proposes activating the unique public spaces along the canal’ s edge with a network of small urban field stations."
Zipping The Gowanus - Unity Through Diversity
by AnAn (Annette Bohr and Anna Lips) | Zurich, Switzerland
"An urban design strategy that negotiates the boundary character of the canal and abandoned industry by proposing 'zipper' systems that connect Park Slope and Carroll Gardens."
Field Station of The Industrial Sublime
by OP-AL (Jennifer Birkeland, Jonathan A. Scelsa, Erin Wythoff, Will DiBernardo, and Isaac Stein) | Brooklyn, NY
"An audacious proposal to drain the canal so it can serve as waste water treatment structure and reclaim Gowanus’ ghost streams as wetlands to aid in storm-water mitigation."
Gowanus Urban Field Station
by Office of Architecture (Aniket Shahane, Ivan Kostic, and Valentin Bansac) | Brooklyn, NY
"Using NYC’s more famous icons (Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building) as inspiration, this proposal reassembles the recently dismantled 'Kentile Floors' sign letters along the axis of the Gowanus Canal, serving as a powerful reflection of Gowanus' identity as a neighborhood: vibrant, diverse, gritty, and resilient."
Who Owns Gowanus?
by Pilot Projects Design Collective (Scott Francisco, Zeynep Goksel, Daniel Joo, Andrew Renninger, and Max Scoppettone) | New York, NY
"A departure from the city’s classification system of land ownership, 'Who Owns Gowanus' offers a more nuanced system that uses linguistic analysis to develop ownership typologies. As a result, the field station becomes an incubator for rethinking traditional ideas of ownership, how it is classified, and what does an owner actually 'own'?"
by Marina Bourderonnet, David Lee, Benjamin Hait, and Kathlyn Kao | New York, NY
"Using robotic technology, six floating autonomous water-cleaning public parks – 'GO-BOTS' – dock at a field station and perform canal-cleaning tasks during dry weather. During wet weather, they absorb and relocate storm water runoff to the remediation tanks below the field station."
The jury consisted of New York-based architects, landscape architects, and planners:
- Brian McGrath, Dean, School of Constructed Environments - Parsons The New School For Design
- Andrea Parker, Executive Director, Gowanus Canal Conservancy
- Richard A. Plunz, Professor of Architecture, GSAPP - Columbia University
- Robert M. Rogers FAIA, Partner, Rogers Partners
- Claire Weisz FAIA, Principal, WXY architecture + urban design
- Adam Yarinsky FAIA LEED AP, Principal, Architecture Research Office
All images courtesy of Gowanus by Design.
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