What if the spaces underneath highways could be put to good use instead of sitting vacant and fallow? New York-based architects Buro Koray Duman have unveiled two incredible speculative designs for their vision of transforming the empty space under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway into a vibrant public space for the community. The proposals depict two exciting activation ideas for the community - a sports-centric facility and a culinary pop-up space.
The first design envisons a sports facility with basketball and volleyball courts as well as various exercise classes available to the adjacent Industry City complex as well as to a nearby school. According to the plans, the open-air sports center would be enclosed in an inflatable structure “squeezed under the highway” during New York’s frigid winter months. The enclosure would also help block out the noise from the traffic passing overhead.
The second design takes more of a culinary route. It would entail installing a large commercial kitchen space that would serve as a starting point for local food trucks to load up on ingredients before embarking on their routes through the city. Once the trucks leave for the day, the area would be used as a community park space. For this design, the architects have created an undulating roof that would provide sound absorption, lighting, and covered parking for the food trucks.
The two proposals were inspired by the Design Trust for Public Space initiative, which was started in 2013. The nonprofit organization works with the city’s transportation department to revitalize neglected spaces often found under bridges, highways, and other “empty” areas throughout NYC.