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September 15, 2010

MVVA designs Brooklyn Bridge Park

Journal Staff Reporter

Images courtesy Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates [enlarge]
Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates has been involved in planning Brooklyn Bridge Park since 1998.

Brooklyn Bridge Park was designed by the firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates in its home town of Brooklyn, N.Y.

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates has been involved with the design of this park since 1998, first as a sub-consultant on the original master plan and then as the park’s lead planner and designer.

Brooklyn Bridge Park is currently under construction. It will eventually encompass about 85 acres and 1.3 miles of waterfront, running from just north of the Manhattan Bridge to the foot of Atlantic Avenue.

The park consists of six five-acre piers, the water between them and the upland area bounded in part by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

The goal is to preserve the industrial waterfront character while improving ecosystems and adding recreational activities, such as boating.

The firm said the design is based on the meeting of two codependent ecosystems: river and city. The goal is to preserve the experience and character of the industrial waterfront while reintroducing self-sustaining ecosystems and bringing in new social and recreational possibilities.

The firm said one of its biggest design challenges was improving public access to the long, narrow site, something that is possible in just three locations. The new park will turn these key points into “urban junctions” that connect directly to the surrounding neighborhoods.

Each of these entrances will be marked by a new neighborhood park that will act as transitional space between the main park and the surrounding community.

The team said it looked at ecological, structural, cultural and economic sustainability. The park will incorporate a variety of salvaged materials and existing marine infrastructure.

Revenue from small development parcels on the edges of the site are expected to offset maintenance and upkeep costs.

The Brooklyn Bridge Park 2005 Master Plan, developed by the MVVA design team, received a 2009 ASLA Honor Award for Analysis and Planning, and a 2009 Waterfront Center award for Excellence on the Waterfront.

For more information, visit: www.vimeo.com/10349996, www.brooklynbridgeparknyc.org, www.asla.org/2009awards/011.html or www.waterfrontcenter.org/Awards/2009Awards.html.


Katie Zemtseff can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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