Four Honor Award-Winning Projects Sculpt the City

Event: 2010 Design Awards Panel: Urban Design
Location: Center for Architecture, 06.17.10
Speakers: Annie Barrett — Project Manager, Architecture Research Office; Marc Kristal — Freelance Writer & Documentarian, “Five Principles of Greenwich South”; Guido Hartray — Associate, Rogers Marvel Architects; Rebecca Hill — Associate, dlandstudio
Moderator: Linda G. Miller — Freelance Writer & Publicist, Contributing Editor, Oculus & e-Oculus
Organizer: AIANY
Sponsors: Chair’s Circle: Foster+Partners New York; Benefactor: Studios Architecture; Patrons: Mancini Duffy; Peter Marino Architect, PLLC; Studio Daniel Libeskind; Trespa; Lead Sponsors: A. E. Greyson + Company; Dagher Engineering; F.J. Sciame Construction Co., Inc.; Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson; FXFOWLE Architects; Gensler; Ingram Yuzek Gainen Carroll & Bertolotti; Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates; MechoShade Systems, Inc.; New York University; Port Authority of New York and New Jersey; Rudin Management Company, Inc.; Structure Tone, Inc.; Syska Hennessy Group; Toshiko Mori Architect, PLLC; VJ Associates

For the first time, the 2010 AIA New York Design Awards included a category for Urban Design. Each of the four honor award-winning projects — the High Line Park by James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro; the MTA Flood Mitigation Streetscape Design by Rogers Marvel Architects and di Domenico + Partners; The “Five Principles for Greenwich South” project by Architecture Research Office (with Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Planners, OPEN, and Marc Kristal); and the BQE Trench: Reconnection Strategies for Brooklyn by dlandstudio — innovatively and collaboratively addresses complex infrastructure. While the High Line is the most well known, all of these projects will no doubt impact future development — a feat in NYC.

Flooded streets too often lead to flooded subway stations. Guido Hartray, an associate with Rogers Marvel, explained that the best option is to install permeable paving surfaces and green roofs, the MTA only has control of the area directly above their ventilation grates.

The team chose to raise the height of the grates. Using the street cross-section as inspiration, they designed a raised grate with a wavy profile. New York magazine ranked the grates as “Highbrow/Brilliant” on its approval matrix.

Architecture Research Office, working with 10 interdisciplinary teams, took an unconventional approach to the neighborhood that lies just south of the World Trade Center site. Rather than create a comprehensive master plan, they were “more interested in the design of the planning process than the design itself,” and aimed to create a guide for growth for the long-term, explained Barrett. The project is now in the hands of the Downtown Alliance, who has already converted some spaces to shared offices and temporary galleries.

Another area that suffers from an east-west divide is Carroll Gardens and Cobble Hill in Brooklyn, thanks to Robert Moses’ Brooklyn/Queens Expressway. Completed in the 1950s, the BQE was originally proposed to be flanked by parks, but is instead a bleak, elevated steel hulk that bisects two distinct areas: the brownstone-lined streets of Carroll Gardens on one side, and treeless streets punctuated by empty storefronts in Carroll Gardens West, Red Hook, Columbia Waterfront District on the other.

The designers proposed that Hicks Street should be made into a “productive spine,” according to Rebecca Hill, an associate with dlandstudio. Their suggestions spanned three phases, beginning with a green wall along a trenched BQE to improve air quality and reduce noise, followed by the addition of street trees and bike lanes and a pedestrian street. In the third phase, parks would lid the highway to create a physical east-west connection and turn a “scar into an amenity,” explained Hill.