Half Dose #42: East River State Park

The outcome of 2005's Williamsburg Waterfront Design Competition -- for the water's edge between N7th and N9th Streets in the East River State Park in Williamsburg, Brooklyn -- resulted in a masterplan collaboration of three of the winners: Gareth Mahon; 3SAP's Alison Duncan, Petra Mager, and Stephanie Saulmon; and Fabrica 718's Julie Torres Moskovitz and Sarah Ludington.

[site location and existing shoreline]

Recently the collaborative team presented their unified design to the community and the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation in an effort to establish design guidelines for the upcoming park improvements. So far the park's (temporary) implementation has been a rather uninspired mix of grass, concrete, and saplings that doesn't appear to reflect the eclectic nature of nearby Williamsburg residents, the unique site overlooking Midtown Manhattan, or any sustainable principles that are rightly popular today. This design hopes to point things in the right direction.

[renderings looking west]

According to Fabrica 718, the design is organized around three objectives: waterfront access and stabilization; community, art, and educational features; and sustainable technologies. Below is a site plan oriented to the above images (north is to the right).

[site plan | north >>]

One notices the access from the street, from the anticipated extensions of the East River State Park to the north and the south, and from the water. Without the extensions a reality or even envisioned, the park's emphasis is on the movement from the street to the water, as the design features have a strong E-W directionality.

[renderings at north edge (top) and south edge (bottom)]

A write-up in the current issue of Topos credits the design's flexibility ("recognizing the diversity of local residents") and sustainable components, like the eco-pier with wind and solar power generation, in effect showing how the design -- implemented in its current state or merely as an idea generator for design guidelines -- can successfully address its context, the nearby population, and environmental concerns.

[renderings of the eco-pier]

(Thanks to Gareth Mahon for sharing images of the project!)