Competitions/ Lavender Island (2011)
The original tidal wetlands and fresh water streams of the Gowanus area were transformed into a canal for land reclamation with the intention of raising property values. The Canal then grew into a highly polluted area. Industrial debris and, more recently, increased surface runoff through combined sewer overflow points have contributed to the extreme condition of environmental degradation.
The project LAVENDER ISLAND originates from our inner urge to revert back to nature. The pollution of the Gowanus canal and the surrounding land has no future. The area is bound to be reclaimed and has valuable potential for becoming a much needed recreational space. In order to accomplish so, our proposal envisages the creation of a park surrounded by diversified activities and land use: laboratories and art studios, art galleries, residential townhouses, residential multi-family buildings, street level storefront offices (transparent plinths), sport fields, secret gardens, pedestrian and biking paths, bird watching and bike sharing stations. Additionally, the water represents a huge opportunity: the enlargement of the current canal into a lake basin with an artificial island would provide the opportunity of bathing and increased navigability (canoe and kayak). The island, the Public Place and the front shore area on the southern side of the lake are transformed into a park accessible from the south-west corner at 9th street and Smith and the northwest corner at 3rd street and Bond. In the overall intervention we have defined a number of new buildings, existing buildings to demo and to reuse.
Water pollution, due to local surface water runoff and combined sewer overflow points, after the cleanup will be addressed by the implementation of strategically located biocells and the removal of sewer overflows. The park will be crossed by new pedestrian and bike paths connecting to the existing surrounding system, additionally, a number of bike sharing stations will be provided as well as new sport fields. A beach will be created for summer bathing. Opposing shores of the lake will be connected by a pedestrian and biking bridge crossing through the artificial island that will host bird watching stations and public gardening stations. Existing residential blocks will be completed with new townhouses. New buildings on the northern edge of the park consist in a combined use type with storefront offices and multi-family residential.