Courtesy Dattner Architects
Event: Taking Urban Infrastructure from NIMBY to YIMBY: The Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Sanitation Garage
Location: Center for Architecture, 6.28.12
Speakers: Paul Bauer, AIA, Principal, Dattner Architects; Dan Klein, Director of Real Estate, New York City Department of Sanitation; Faith Rose, Senior Design Liaison, NYC Department of Design + Construction; Michael Friedlander, Director of Special Projects, NYC Department of Sanitation; Faith Rose, Senior Design Liaison, NYC Department of Design + Construction; Claire Weisz, AIA, Principal, WXY Architecture + Urban Design
Organizer: AIANY Transportation and Infrastructure Committee
“As waterfront uses have changed over the last few decades, it has become harder and harder to find sites for New York City Department of Sanitation facilities,” explained Dan Klein, Director of Real Estate for New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY). Land use changes coupled with legislative actions such as the Hudson River Park Act have forced the agency to relocated garages, sparking NIMBYism (NIMBY stands for Not In My Back Yard).
The 425,000sf Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Garage, designed by Dattner Architects with WXY Architecture + Urban Design for a key site at the corner of Spring Street and West Street, caught the NIMBY-objections of a small but vocal number of high-profile local residents and business interests, including James Gandolfini and Lou Reed. Paul Bauer AIA, Principal at Dattner Architects, presented the development of the garage’s design in response to the program, the site, and the community. The DSNY Director of Special Projects Michael Friedlander’s mantra is to design “the best building in the neighborhood,” and he believes the agency’s commitment to quality architecture has helped to garner local support for these critical infrastructure projects. In essence, good design combined with community input can turn NIMBYs into YIMBYs (Yes In My Back Yard), even when it comes to potentially-noxious projects like a sanitation garage.
The openness of the process and the responsiveness of the design solution were key elements of the team’s approach. The Dattner and WXY-designed building will house over 150 sanitation vehicles, separate vehicle wash and personnel facilities for District’s 1, 3 and 5, and centralized fueling and repair facilities by vertically stacking the program into a highly functional building enlivened with an innovative, double-skin façade. Perforated aluminum louvers hang vertically in front of a glass curtain wall, creating “a diaphanous scrim that both shields and reveals,” noted Bauer “and changes appearance with the time of day, the season, and viewer’s location.” Faith Rose, NYC DDC, suggested that projects like the garage represent how architects and urbanites are starting to think about public infrastructure in a new way and are “beginning to define for what Civic Architecture is today.”