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Winners Announced for Brooklyn Bridge Project

Friday, September 11, 2020

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Winners have been chosen for the “Reimagining the Brooklyn Bridge” project, launched by New York City Council, along with urban-design nonprofit the Van Alen Institute.

In July, VAI announced six finalists out of 250 entries, the designs of which ranged from glass walkways, to microforests to even a ban on cars altogether.

The Contest

The thought for a contest was prompted by the uptick in foot and bike traffic on the bridge. According to a 2017 report by the NYC Department of Transportation, between 2008 and 2015, on the weekends, foot traffic nearly quadrupled and cyclist traffic more than doubled.

However, in addition to those numbers, daily traffic numbers in total have dropped from 425,000 in the early 1900s to around 125,000 today.

Images courtesy of the Van Alen Institute

The winner in the Professional category was the Brooklyn Bridge Forest, which reimagines the bridge “as an icon of climate action and social equity, improving mobility while respecting the landmark structure.”

Contest jurors chose the shortlist from two categories of entrants: young adults, who were encouraged to suggest ideas based on their “wildest dreams,” and professionals age 22 and older.

 A winner for each category will be decided by scores from the jury and an online public vote.

Jurors favored inclusive designs, according to Deborah Marton, Executive Director of the Van Alen Institute, but the panel also chose “ambitious” designs. The finalists were as follows.

In the Professionals category:

  • Back to the Future, BIG + ARUP, New York – This design seeks to return the bridge to its original state—both architecturally and functionally— removing cars and related ramps and providing more space for pedestrians, bikes and transit;
  • Bridge X, ScenesLab + Minzi Long + Andrew Nash, New York, Boston and Vienna – The proposal reimagines the upper and lower decks to reclaim space for greater pedestrian and cyclist access, to make room for vendors and small businesses and to offer new modes of engagement with the bridge; and
  • Brooklyn Bridge Forest, Pilot Projects Design Collective, Cities4Forests, Wildlife Conservation Society, Grimshaw and Silman; New York and Montreal – This idea sees the wooden walkway expanded using planks sustainably sourced, a dedicated bike path and reclaimed traffic lane for cyclists and low-carbon transit, with biodiverse “microforests” at either end of the bridge.

In the Young Adults category:

  • The Artery, Lukas Kugler, New Milford, Connecticut – In this vision, the design incorporates designated spaces for vendors and three separate pathways for cyclists, runners and pedestrians;
  • The Cultural Current, Aubrey Bader and Maggie Redding, Knoxville, Tennessee – This suggestion uses color in a playful way that’s also helpful for wayfinding, reuses existing wood boards and recycled plastic and plans to phase car traffic off the lower roadway; and
  • Do Look Down, Shannon Hui, Kwans Kim, and Yujin Kim; Hong Kong, Bay Area, California, and New York – This entry includes an installation of a glass surface above the bridge’s girders to create a new pedestrian space activated through art installations and seasonal programming, while the lower roadway is converted into additional walkable and human-powered transport space that also offers opportunities for local vendors and performers.

The Finalists

“The competition’s finalists were selected by an interdisciplinary jury representing a wide-ranging set of perspectives on the Brooklyn Bridge,” VAI said. “The jury considered the following factors: team composition; accessibility and safety; environmental benefit and security; respect for the bridge’s landmark status; feasibility; and ‘magic’—i.e. new ideas that surprise, delight and fascinate.”

The Young Adult winner was Do Look Down, which includes an installation of a glass surface above the bridge’s girders to “create a whimsical new pedestrian space activated through art installations and seasonal programming.”

Professional Winner: Brooklyn Bridge Forest

This design reimagines the bridge “as an icon of climate action and social equity, improving mobility while respecting the landmark structure.” In this plan, the wooden walkway is expanded using planks sustainably sourced from a “partner forest” community in Guatemala that protects a 200,000-acre rainforest. A bike path and reclaimed traffic lane create new space for cyclists and low-carbon transit, while “microforests” at either end of the bridge bring nature to New York City and serve as green spaces for underserved communities.

The team consisted of architects, a landscape architect, an urbanist, two ecologists, a structural engineer, a forester and environmental lawyer, educators and researchers and a community engagement facilitator.

Members included Scott Francisco, Sarah Jane Wilson, Christine Facella, Jeremy Radachowsky, Justin Den Herder, Ben Fryer, Aaron Vaden-Youmans, Noah Garcia, Alexandre Rossignol and Arianne Pizem.

Young Adult Winner: Do Look Down 

This design includes an installation of a glass surface above the bridge’s girders to “create a whimsical new pedestrian space activated through art installations and seasonal programming.” In this plan, the lower roadway is converted into additional walkable and human-powered transport space that also offers opportunities for local vendors and performers. Powered by kinetic paving, an LED and projection system is mobilized to honor the city’s cultures, histories and identities.

The team includes Shannon Hui, a junior at Barnard College studying architecture and psychology; Kwans Kim, a freshman at the NYU Gallatin School with interests in film, music and television; and Yujin Kim, who completed his B.A. in Mathematics at Columbia University and is currently a PhD candidate at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, NYU.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Bridges; Color + Design; Color + Design; Design; NA; North America

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