Last Saturday, the different teams presented the first outcomes of the Streetscape Territories Gowanus workshop: each of the six teams explored the whole Canal area, focusing on a specific theme:
Adjacency / Scale Contrast (programmatic adjacencies, open space structure, voids)
Depth / Access configuration
Proximity / Mobility / Connectivity
Productive Landscape (manufacturing versus residential)
Waterscape/Rising Sea Level / Storm Surges
Social Networks / Motors of Transformation / Industrial Gentrification
team A: Adjacency / Scale Contrast
Kim Van Kempen, Marc Miguel Baños, Nick Vanoppen, Christina Kousgaard Hansen and Florian Marquet
The Gowanus area is a patchwork of different scales and functions. Going from industrial to residential, from manufacturing to high-rise hotels and so on. The way in which these different scales and functions are combined varies. In some cases the scale differences are used to mark the border of an area in a very clear way, we might call these “hard borders”. In others the more subtle combination of scales creates a “zone of transition” in between two zones. The interesting combinations of the many different functions in the area and the presence of these different scales and functions and their organization leave open many possibilities for future development.
team B: Depth / Access Configuration
Mauro Calderone, Nandi Degrave, Sofie Taveirne and David Minoodt
Changing the way of using space can generate a different depth into a building. By looking to the depth of space in different points of view, the use of buildings can be modified to current needs. A manufacturer can use public spaces in order to interact with the people as the open space can be used public when not needed. This multilayered access and depth system can be interesting on designing both economic and social activities in the area.
team C: Proximity / Mobility / Connectivity
Frederick De Ryck, William Riche, Enrique Castillo Miguel and Theresa Kjellberg
The transitions between the differentiating land uses present in the Gowanus area seem to happen fluently. Although the uses of the surrounding buildings are fundamentally different in their own nature the proximity between the street and the building do not differ very much. We could ask ourselves how this proximity can be changed in order to connect the area in a more sufficient way.
team D: Productive Landscape
Petra Holubová, Ruben Castro, Amelie Van Neer and Giles Sioen
A Strategic analysis of the six plots and surroundings in the Gowanus canal area to reach an understanding of the current situation and desires from the manufacturers point of view considering the local inhabitants and the contemporary needs. Can manufacturing work as the foundation of strategic planning? Can temporary residency be applied in compatibility with the traditional urban needs? Can the Gowanus canal keep its identity and remain a fundamental part in New York’s productivity?
team E: Waterscape/Rising Sea Level / Storm Surges
Ruben Janssens, Marie Kremers, Miguel Angel Aguiló and Eva Lo
“The Gowanus: Falling short of even your lowest expectations since 1849”
The waterscape of the Gowanus canal is currently experienced as a mental and physical border between two better-off neighborhoods.
Noted as one of the most heavily polluted areas in the USA, all threats should be perceived as opportunities to strengthen the area.
To ensure an economical and socially viable future of the Gowanus canal waterfront, a multi-faceted solution is needed.
Even small interventions have the potential to trigger a domino-effect which will increase the livability of the Gowanus area on all levels.
team F : Social Networks / Motors of Transformation / Industrial Gentrification
Sarah Poot, Niels Decoster, Laura Beltran and Joshua Dandois
Gowanus is one of the last manufacturing areas that is still affordable and that attracts blue collard workers from all over NYC. The last few years it has been under pressure coming from the slopes as housing speculation and en leisure facilities are pushing away current activities. It is not wrong to say an overall gentrification is taking place. Gowanus becoming a federal Superfund site provides a time gap of 15 years that brings forth opportunities to rethink the future of the area. It gives us the opportunity to reconnect the locals and create a community to give voice to future developments.