With one month down and one to go, the five architecture teams presented their projects to the public for the first time at P.S.1’s Saturday Sessions last weekend. Incorporating the public dialogue of the weekend into their studio work, the teams now begin to enter production mode, transforming their ideas into models, drawings, digital animations, and mixed media for the upcoming MoMA exhibition.
Matthew Baird, Matthew Baird Architects
Even if talks go well at this week’s COP 15, greenhouse gases will still increase in our global atmosphere. Our think tank at P.S.1 is considering how to address energy needs and to reduce the carbon footprint in any rethinking of our New York Harbor site. Lately, we’ve been considering the six hundred oil tanks located in Bayonne, NJ. With sea level rise and storm surge, a substantial portion of this area will be regularly or periodically under water. After creating a series of natural and man-made buffers at the water’s edge to cap and contain the compromised soil at the existing tank farm, we propose continuing to use the existing massive infrastructure to create energy. In the cleaner, greener future, we would make fuel from a renewable resource: algae. Algal biodiesel is carbon neutral, and thus would not add to greenhouse gas emissions. Part of our approach is to find local solutions for global problems.
Waterfront Futures: This past week we explored some of the formal implications of transforming Manhattan that we described in our last post. The most important questions we are considering have to do with the extent to which the boundary between land and sea can be successfully blurred, and which direction our strategy should privilege. Should water be permitted to enter into the city fabric? Should the fabric extend out into the water? Either move entails risk. We are balancing the security of the existing city and its infrastructure with a desire to frame a connection between the city and the water. A hybrid strategy is emerging in which the coastline is a porous boundary shaped by the pressures from both land and water. This new coastline will incorporate the existing city into an outward expansion of Lower Manhattan in the Upper Bay. Unlocked by this strategy are new programmatic and spatial possibilities sure to play out across a range of scales. In our approach, Lower Manhattan is a twenty-first-century business district as well as a center of regional ecological renewal.
With little over one month left in the project, Team LTL has coalesced around a site strategy driven by the goal of maximizing adjacencies and overlaps between water and land, transforming the fixed edge through a series of interlocking figures. Unlike the static quality of the normative grid, we are seeking a more elastic organizing matrix where the relationship of the part to the whole is fluid and dynamic. Right now, more than half the site of Liberty State Park is in need of ecological remediation. How can the coming change in sea level become a catalyst for change, rejuvenating land, and engaging water through tactical modifications, while expanding the park’s functions to take advantage of the coming dynamic interplay between water and land? What are the unexpected opportunities for use and pleasure that can be generated through playful intersections of the normative binary? The hope here is to generate a design strategy that can be deployed locally in the New York Harbor, while establishing a testing ground for deployment at other low-lying coastal locations globally that face similar challenges in the coming years.
Oyster-tecture. SCAPE’s proposal for the Gowanus/Red Hook area is growing. Yes, growing! A series of oyster nurseries, combined with a 3-D web matrix of fuzzy rope on the Bay Ridge Flats and in the Gowanus Canal, will literally grow a new living mosaic from the flat muck of the floor. Oysters provide a three-dimensional structure and habitat for invertebrates and fin fish below the water’s surface, setting into motion a revitalized marine ecosystem that works to attenuate waves. Above the water’s surface, a newly cleaned harbor creates opportunities for new programs, life forms, and cultures along the shores of the Gowanus and Red Hook neighborhoods.
Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang, nARCHITECTS
We imagine a New Aqueous City. Its zoning ordinance would envision the city as governed by flows rather than zones: government intervenes with specific acupunctural initiatives at strategic locations, or “seeds.” These interventions (piers, islands, inflatable barriers, pervious networks) would constitute a dispersed and generative infrastructure. In addition to deflecting storm surges, channeling storm water, generating energy, and suturing transportation networks, they would instigate a range of temporal processes over time, including the creation of new valuable ground and habitats through silt deposition. Accretion of the city’s private initiatives and the growth of natural habitats would soon crystallize around them.