Gallery: Gowanus Lowline Winners Envision a More Sustainable Future for...

Since its designation as a Superfund site, Brooklyn's Gowanus Canal has become a hot topic for designers and architects who want to reinvent the toxic waterway as a thriving green space in New York City. Gowanus Crossings invites designers from around the world to submit their ideas for doing just this. The competition asked designers to create a plan for developing the postindustrial land, The Gowanus Lowline, around the canal. After an influx of innovative entries, the verdict is out, awarding the grand prize of $1,000 to the Gowanus Flowlands Project. The winner, and other entries, can be viewed at Brooklyn’s SET Gallery, opening September 15th.

The team of Tyler Caine, Luke Carnahan, Ryan Doyle and Brandon Specketer’s winning entry returns the area surrounding the canal back to the wetland estuary it was before the industrial takeover. By restoring plant life, the wetlands will act as a natural filter to the polluted waters. The system would be self-sufficient, encouraging the depleting ecosystem to thrive once again, but promoting plant, marine and wildlife to flourish again, by introducing each element in a series of phases.

Second place goes to the team of Aptum/Landscape Intelligence, made up of Julie Larsen, Roger Hubeli and Gale Fulton. Called [f]lowline, the project utilizes the toxic sediment which would be dredged from the canal floor to help create new land for three recreational zones around the canal. Dredging would help remove toxins and clean the canal water. [f]lowline employs a transport system for the materials dredged, and converts it into pools, park areas, and a recreational landscape.

Domestic Laundry by Agergroup came in with an Honorable Mention. Called “Flush Basin Curtain Mattress Pillow,” the project is a series of cleansing, filtering and protecting. The Flush Basin Curtain filters the canal water through lush floating islands and a curtain wall that filters run off. The Curtain Mattress turns contaminated soil into energy, powering an LED walkway. The higher the contamination, the brighter it lights up, meaning it is also an indicator for soil quality. The Mattress Pillow lays over soil to filter contaminants and grow fresh grass and plants.

Made in Brooklyn by Nathan Rich and Miriam Peterson proposes to connect the neighborhoods of Park Slope and Carroll Gardens by building up the areas in between the two, around the canal. The plan would construct bridges between the neighborhoods on commercial streets that otherwise dead end, encouraging traffic flow from one area to the next. BYOB (Build Your Own Bridge) by Austin+Mergold snagged an honorable mention by also using a bridge idea. The bridges connect the neighborhoods, promote environmental remediation, and promote social integration.

Burkholder/Salmons’ Gowanus Canal Filter District also seeks to connect the surrounding neighborhoods. The common land will be restructured into different zones, from recreational to developing zones, combined with a series of perforations and elevations that filter the pollutants from the soil.

Each plan employs the same sensibilities; the solution is to connect, filter and conserve. We hope that the Gowanus Lowlands are returned to a healthy, lush, community area in the near future, thanks to Gowanus Flowlands! Be sure to check out all of the project proposals in detail at SET Gallery, 287 Third Avenue, Brooklyn. The opening reception is September 15th from 6-9 pm.

+ Gowanus Lowline


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