DLANDstudio has finally completed work on its long-beleaguered “sponge park” on Brooklyn’s toxic Gowanus Canal. Located at the end of Second Street on the western side of the canal, the 2,100-square-foot park is a “working landscape” project that was strategically designed to absorb and filter millions of gallons of contaminated stormwater from the waterway each year.


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The 1.8-mile canal is one of America’s most toxic waterways due to its many years as a major industrial transportation route to New York Harbor. In 2010, the canal was given Superfund status by the EPA, and a major clean-up process began for the waterway. DLANDstudio’s Gowanus Canal Sponge Park™ will now be able to assist that massive undertaking by preventing additional pollutants from entering the canal.

Related: DLANDstudio’s Sponge Park will be a natural filtration system for the Gowanus Canal

At first glance, the park system looks like a lush green garden with pleasant walkways for strolling. However, under the greenery lies a strategic system that involves rerouting stormwater from the surface to two channels underneath the walkway. Various woody plants with phytoremediative qualities then help to filter out heavy metals and biological toxins from the contaminated water as it passes through the channels.

The sponge park had been previously delayed for several years due to lack of funding, but thankfully, DLANDstudio managed to raise the necessary  $1.4 million through city and state funds and a variety of grants to complete the project.

According to Architectural Record, the park’s performance will be monitored closely, not only for its impact on the canal itself, but for possible use in other locations around the city such as Newtown Creek.

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Via Architectural Record

Images via DLANDstudio