Freshkills Park Blog

Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 4 design

Pier 4 concept rendering by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park Development Corporation has released plans for Pier 4, one of six piers along Brooklyn’s northern waterfront that will be incorporated into the in-development Brooklyn Bridge Park.  The Pier 4 site, like the rest of the 85-acre park, has been designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. The plan includes reclaiming part of the deteriorated railroad infrastructure currently occupying the Pier 4 site as a public walkway, and another part as an island wildlife sanctuary.  The project is slated for construction in summer 2012 and is expected to be complete the next year.

Pier 1 was expected to open by the beginning of 2010 but is now anticipated later in the year, along with Pier 6.  Much of the rest of the park’s development still awaits funding.

February 18, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | Leave a comment

Active Design Guidelines released

The City of New York has just released a new publication and policy initiative called Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design.  The guidelines, which have been developed through an interagency effort in collaboration with professional and academic institutions, make simple and accessible recommendations about how design of built features in the City can and should address public health concerns related to obesity and physical activity.  Commissioned, essentially, by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the guidelines are to provide a public health overlay on the sustainability and livability initiatives already being implemented by the Departments of Parks & Recreation, Transportation, City Planning and Design, Development and Construction.  Recommendations are organized in checklists and by scale of design intervention, from large-scale planning down to architectural details.  Urban Omnibus offers a positive appraisal:

The recommendations are not just good for the environment or good design moves. They create a city whose infrastructure is designed to keep us fit, active, and healthy. They address pressing social problems through fairly innocuous and inoffensive measures that are understandable by everyone and can be implemented at all scales.

February 11, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | Leave a comment

Dubai land art/power plant design competition

Robert Smithson's "Spiral Jetty" (1970); one of Dubai's Palm Islands in construction.

The Land Art Generator Initiative is hosting an international design competition to design outdoor public art installations that generate renewable energy–in Dubai.  While the United Arab Emirates has made most of its wealth by exploiting oil reserves, Dubai has become an international hub for innovative architecture and infrastructure projects due to its dizzyingly rapid pace of development.  Two American artists who live in the city have organized the competition, working with the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council and the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, to explore opportunities for aesthetic intervention as renewable energy production facilities become more intertwined with real estate development.  Proposed projects must produce no negative environmental impacts and must be accompanied by an environmental impact assessment.  There are no limits on the type of energy generation employed, so long as it is tested.

Examples of potential proposals here revisit the land art movement: sculptural wave energy accumulators; a photovoltaic outdoor video installation; a PV-based camera obscura pavilion.  Project organizers continue to seed inspiration for proposals on their blog.  No word on whether or how winning proposals will be built, but since so many otherwise-unbelievable projects do make their way to construction in Dubai, there is no ruling out the possibility.  Submission deadline is June 4th.

(via Treehugger)

February 9, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Current landscape and waterfront exhibits

Superstudio's "The Continuous Monument: On the Rocky Coast" (1969), on view at the MoMA.

A couple of exciting exhibitions and projects featuring the built and natural environments are currently underway at the MoMA and P.S.1.  The MoMA exhibition, “In Situ: Architecture and Landscape”, opened last April and will be running through February 22nd.  A small but succinct show, it’s worth visiting.

P.S.1’s recent program “Rising Currents: Projects for New York’s Waterfront” included a studio residency for Architecture Research Office (ARO), which developed designs for “adaptive ‘soft’ infrastructures” to address rising tidewaters in New York and New Jersey, taking into account the needs of both the metropolis and the coastline ecology.  An exhibit of models, drawings and analytical materials produced during the residency will be opening at the MoMA March 24th.  In the meantime, the Rising Currents Blog continues to offer interesting reflections on the intersections of urban and hydrological systems.

February 5, 2010 Posted by | events, FKP, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

City as garbage as City

An inverse representation of the Statue of Liberty, from Terreform's proposal.

A design proposal that seemed almost inevitable: New York-based architects Terreform propose the employment of automated robots in reusing garbage sited within the Fresh Kills Landfill to construct buildings and islands.  The robots, refashioned from existing industrial equipment, would compact garbage into stackable units and be assembled like building blocks.

Wall-E, anyone?  The firm’s proposal, Rapid Re(f)use, bears uncanny similarity to the animated robot’s activities, of course; their cleverness is really rendering the film’s scenario in real world architectural terms to reflect meaningfully on the relationship between the city and its waste.  Terreform posits that the entire volume of the Fresh Kills Landfill, in addition to waste newly generated and collected, could be used to construct seven landmasses equivalent in size to Manhattan island.  A provocative idea, for sure, and fodder for further academic discourse.

To be clear, though, we’re sticking to the park project.

(via Inhabitat)

February 1, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eco-park to restore polluted Canarsie wetlands

Wetlands of the Paerdegat Basin, on the shore of Jamaica Bay

The City of New York has announced a $15 million project to clean up 38 acres of wetlands adjacent to the Paerdegat Basin Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Facility on Jamaica Bay in Brooklyn.  According to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the project–slated for completion in 2012–will begin this Spring to improve water quality in the Paerdegat Basin by re-introducing native plants to the salt marsh and grassland habitats.

Central to the success of the project is an improved Combined Sewer Overflow facility.  The current facility is unable to treat the full volume of sewage entering the plant, forcing the overflow of untreated sewage into the Paerdegat Basin, especially during heavy rains.  Improvements will increase the capacity of the facility to 50 million gallons of raw sewage, restore the shoreline to improve storm water absorption and create a 5-acre “Ecology Park,” allowing the public access to the restored wetlands and an educational center with exhibits about coastal habitats.  The project is funded by a portion of the $220 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding received by the City for water infrastructure improvements through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

(via The New York Post and The Brooklyn Eagle)

January 19, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Sustainability in higher education

The New York Times documents a rise in university programs focused on sustainability, especially regarding the urban environment.  The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education lists nine universities with master’s and doctoral programs in urban sustainability studies.  Most of these programs are interdisciplinary in nature, like the new graduate program at the City College of New York that will focus on sustainability in the urban environment, incorporating the approaches of architecture, engineering and science.  The growth of sustainability programs represents a shift from a focus within environmental studies on rural areas to an emphasis on the urban environment.

January 14, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , | Leave a comment

Revamping Cleveland’s Public Square

One of three design proposals from James Corner Field Operations, re-envisioning Cleveland's Public Square.

Landscape architecture and urban design firm James Corner Field Operations has prepared three new design proposals re-imagining Cleveland’s Public Square.  The downtown park is bisected by two roads and perceived, in its current state, as a dead zone between skyscrapers.  The proposals aim to restore a “town commons” feel and prioritize pedestrians, creating a celebrated public amenity and increasing real-estate values in the area.  The firm, now famous for their design of the High Line and Freshkills Park, was commissioned by non-profit organizations ParkWorks and Downtown Cleveland Alliance to produce the designs, which will soon be presented to the public in a town hall meeting.

(via Fast Company and Architecture and the Urban Landscape)

January 6, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The New Yorker’s architecture year in review

The New Yorker has published a list of the Ten Most Positive Architectural Events of 2009.  Highlights from the NYC-focused list include:

  • the opening of the High Line on Manhattan’s west side;
  • the pedestrianization of Broadway, a project transforming public space spearheaded by Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn;
  • the publishing of two books on architecture and the city: 1) Wrestling with Moses by Anthony Flint on the historic struggle between Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses, and 2)Twenty Minutes in Manhattan by Michael Sorkin on the author’s changing experience of the city as manifested in his daily walk from his home in Greenwich Village to his studio in Chelsea;
  • Cooper Union’s opening of 41 Cooper Square, a new academic building making Cooper Union NYC’s first LEED Platinum certified school.

January 4, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , | Leave a comment

Garbage Problems

The model for a playful student design envisioning the future of Fresh Kills Landfill as a "Garbage City" complete with a waste-to-energy plant, farms, a super highway and "pinky man hotels" (above) where residents may live for free.

In 2002, a year after the Department of Sanitation and and the Municipal Arts Society announced the design competition for the reuse of the Fresh Kills landfill, the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) embarked on an investigative project called Garbage Problems aimed at understanding the processes behind waste management in New York City.  Working in collaboration with students from City-As-School high school, CUP produced a variety of compelling educational materials: a playful model and design plan for the reuse of the landfill called “Garbage City“; a 30 minute video on the project; and “The Making of Garbage Problems,” a large-format collage brochure explaining the project and providing a variety of resources on waste management in the wake of the closure of Fresh Kills.

January 3, 2010 Posted by | FKP | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments