Competitions/ Water Trail (2013)

In combination with the long term Gowanus Canal Superfund Project, the nearby contaminated site currently hosting the Douglass & Degraw Street Pool and the Thomas Green Playground will undergo a deep cleanup to remove the debris of a former Manufactured Gas Plant from the soil. At a nearby location a Combined Sewer Overflow Point currently discharging into the canal will be redirected to a retention tank. These conditions offer an opportunity to redefine this city block as a pioneer site for the entire Gowanus Canal Area to inspire a much desired re-zoning process that will provide the neighborhood with healthier and vibrant conditions for future transformation. The area surrounding the canal originally consisted of tidal wetlands that were transformed during the second half of the 19th century for land reclamation with the intention of raising property values. This intensive transformation has brought extreme conditions of environmental degradation, not compatible with current and future use of the area.


Creating and enhancing wildlife habitat in an urban environment

The present design proposal introduces an inlet Eco-River connecting the body of water of the Gowanus Canal with the established urban blocks and avenues. This will allow the original ecosystem and fauna (Frogs, Hummingbirds, Butterflies and Dragonflies among others) to return to the site, the canal and the surrounding urban blocks. The project assumes that the Gowanus Canal water classification will be Class A or B that would allow the water used for the proposed Water Trail to be pulled from the Canal itself and maintained healthy by means of natural filtration using shallow plants in combination with power-assisted water circulation and oxygenation. Filtration areas are combined with swimming, walking/hiking and floating farming areas along the proposed Eco-River.


Project Highlights

Walkable Eco-River with integrated Bio-Pool, waterfalls, rocks, islands, aquatic plants filtration areas and floating water farms. Reduction of stormwater run-off through the use of biocells, rain gardens and green roofs. Use of permeable paving materials to reduce stormwater run-off and allow rain water to infiltrate into the ground and replenish groundwater. Underground Indoor Recreation and Office areas to maximize vegetation surface with entrance on 3rd Av. Small museum of the original habitat of the area. CSO Retention Facility with Community Farm on Sedum Roof. Use of water-wise garden techniques (xeriscaping). Use of sustainably harvested wood for decking areas. Soil management techniques: Composting.


Project Materials

The river uses bentonite clay with gravel and sand on top, the river will also feature a number of rocks that might be found during the excavation for cleaning the site.
Poured in-place terrazzo paving at pool area.
Buildings: green slate used for both cladding and roofing, stained wood, aluminum/wood & glass for fenestration.

The start point of the sandy Gowanus Water Trail.

The start point of the sandy Gowanus Water Trail.