One almost feels a sense of alienation, visually and physically, when wandering the streets of Sunset Park’s Waterfront. There is a haunting quality that is instilled within the area, with reminisce of industrial artifacts that have long fallen under decay and dilapidation. Manufacturing and industry have been vital components to the development and growth of Sunset Park, historically, economically and even culturally. With a population of 97,107, one-third (34,625) of those residents are working manufacturing jobs but have to commute outside of the city in order to get to work, making industry one of the community’s largest potential assets.
Sunset Park has strong urban barriers that isolate the waterfront and its surrounding area to the residences. These barriers mainly include the Gowanus Expressway and existing zoning and programmatic divisions. Accessibility into the area remains a major issue that continues to enable and solidify these boundaries. As a result of zoning and programmatic segregation, the upland community remains primarily residential, while the waterfront remains industrial.
The Brooklyn Army Terminal (BAT), which is situated at the south end of the Sunset Park Waterfront was once the main World War I and II shipping point of goods and people; a huge complex spanning 5 large industrial blocks with over 6 million square feet of space. After years of disinvestment, much like the majority of the waterfront, the BAT currently sits underutilized, and inaccessible to the public.
In an attempt to re-engage the community, our goal was to begin to redefine and reintroduce the Brooklyn Army Terminal as a center of community and industrial activity that showcases the interaction between people and the mechanisms of industries. With the introduction of public corridors we re-imagined the BAT with a series of cuts through the expansive complex in order to break up its massive scale to allow for multi-functionality and social collectiveness. The street fabric will be woven through the BAT to reconnect the upland community to the waterfront through the Brooklyn Army Terminal. The complex will become the new hub of activity in Sunset Park, connecting the area with the New York Metro Region while still maintaining the industrial and historic integrity of a newly imagined industrial waterfront.
Status: School Project
Location: Brooklyn, NY, US
My Role: Designer
Additional Credits: Thesis Partner: Nicolas Marsical
Software Consultant: Manos Saratsis
Scaled Figures: www.skalgubbar.se