Confession: I'm moving to Gowanus. And even though I found a beautiful apartment, ponied up a giant brokers fee and signed a lease - I still toss and turn with ambivalence most nights. The first thing out of my mouth after I tell people I'm moving to the area is "do you think I made a mistake?" With that in mind, I made an eager study of the winners and finalists in the recent design competition sponsored by Carroll Gardens based non-profit, Gowanus by Design. Entries came from nearly 200 urban planners and designers around the world -- and while none are likely to be realized, I found it incredibly heartening that people in such far flunch locales as Brazil and Finland might take an interest in my soon-to-be little slice of Brooklyn!
Entrants were encouraged to focus on connections in and around the area - both in terms of physical structures but also uniting ecological remediation and sustainability with sites designed to bring in pedestrians, local business, more residents and so forth. Once the entries were received they were judged by award winning architects, professors from the Columbia School of Architecture and the Dean of the Parsons School of Design. Winners took home $1,000 - which I believe they should use to build little models of their plans particularly desolate looking corners in the nabe -- adorable and inspiring!
Below are some highlights, but you can also read about all the winners here.
- Contest Winner Gowanus Flowlands (pictured above) proposes a series of oyster beds along the canal that would serve to purify the water. (Calm down, locavores -- no word yet on whether those oysters would by edible.) The design also “includes a lily pad-dotted water basin that sits between a Starbucks and an H&M.”
- BYOB - Build Your Own Bridge focuses on uniting Carroll Gardens and Park Slope through a series of resident designed bridges.
- Flowline proposes a fleet of retrofitted floating barges to function as public spaces along the canal -- including a forest barge, a clubhouse barge and a public toilet barge.
The first two sound great but the latter is a bit "Old Gowanus" if you ask me.