“After announcing six finalists in early July, the Brooklyn-based Van Alen Institute and New York City Council have revealed the two winning entrants of Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge. The international design competition invited participants to treat the 19th-century marvel of engineering to a 21st-century revamp with an eye on equity, sustainability, health, increased access to pedestrians and cyclists, and a touch of old-fashioned razzle-dazzle” writes Matt Hickman for The Architect’s Newspaper.
The Brooklyn Bridge connects Brooklyn to Manhattan over the East River. It has become an iconic representation of New York City itself and one of the city’s most visited, photographed and filmed landmarks. Built of granite with steel cables, it took fourteen years and the modern-day equivalent of US $320 million to build. No-one could have imagined how many millions of commuters would cross it. Before the coronavirus pandemic the bridge carried 150,000 vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians every day, making it very crowded during rush hour.
The Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge competition was originally announced in February as a response to unsafe and uncomfortable conditions on the bridge. But the coronavirus pandemic quickly accelerated and changed priorities, bringing the need for more safe and healthy outdoor space and accessible and sustainable transport options into sharper focus. The winning concepts were selected from two categories, young adult and professional, by a competition jury as well as through online public voting. The jury considered the bridge’s iconic and historic status, environmental and health benefits, feasibility and imagination in their decision.
New York- and Montreal-based Pilot Projects Design Collective produced the first winning entry – Brooklyn Bridge Forest. They proposed expanding the historic wooden walkway with sustainably sourced planks (which also help protect 200,000 acres of rain forest in Guatemala); new green spaces or biodiverse “microforests” at each end of the bridge; a dedicated bike path and reclaimed traffic lane for cyclists and low-carbon transit; and pop-up market spaces in the historic approach vaults.
Shannon Hui, Kwans Kim, and Yujin Kim, young designers from Hong Kong, the San Francisco Bay Area, and New York won the young adult category with their Do Look Down. They boldly re-imagine the bridge with a glass surface above the girders allowing a view of the roadway below it. And that roadway would be converted into an open space for pedestrians, cyclists, street vendors and performers. A projection system would be powered by energy generated by pedestrians walking on kinetic pavers.
“The winning ideas inspire us to think differently about the city’s infrastructure” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson. “They are a crucial first step to get New Yorkers thinking about how to adapt not only the bridge but also our streets and public spaces for future generations and stay true to our goal of creating an environmentally sensitive, bike-friendly city that prioritizes pedestrians over cars.”
Read the original article here.
Image by Leonhard NIederwimmer from Pixabay