Marvel Architects and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects recently cut the ribbon on a brand new public green space located on the site of a former naval cemetery in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Christened the Naval Cemetery Landscape, the 1.7-acre park will be used for passive recreation and a way to escape the bustling urban environment.
Overseen by the nonprofit organization Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI), the Naval Cemetery Landscape is part of the ambitious Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway project. However, the new space is not only meant to offer more recreational space for locals, but was thoughtfully designed to pay respect to the site’s history as a burial ground.
Located at the southeast corner of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Brooklyn Naval Hospital Cemetery was the burial site for more than 2,000 US Navy and Marine Corps officers and enlisted servicemen It was closed in 1910 and years later, the Navy moved all of the remains to Cypress Hills National Cemetery. In order to renovate the area in a respectful manner, the landscape architects focused on using the natural landscape as a symbol of the renewal of life in nature.
“With our design of the Naval Cemetery Landscape, we endeavored to create an experience of landscape and planted form that offers retreat, remembrance, and engaged observation while honoring the layered, 200 year history,” explained Thomas Woltz, principal of Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, “We wanted visitors to have an immersive experience that would engage them in the importance of pollinator habitat in the urban environment, while symbolically attracting many forms of life to a place that has historically commemorated death.”