Urban Quotient

Gowanus Lowline - A Network of Edges

Brooklyn, NY
Competition Entry 2011
Collaboration with John Merritt

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North End - Aerial Perspective

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North End - Detail

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North End - Detail

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North End - Design Concept

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Middle Marsh - Detail

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Middle Marsh - Design Concept

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Middle Marsh - Aerial Perspective

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Middle Marsh - Aerial Perspective

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Harbor - Detail

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Harbor - Aerial Perspective

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Harbor - Design Concept

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Context Map & Study of Gowanus Canal

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Context Map & Study of Gowanus Canal

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Precedent Study - Xochimilco, Mexico City

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Precedent Study - El Parque Ecologico de Xochimilco, Mexico City

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Precedent Study - Kashi Ghats of Varanasi

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Sketch of Large-Scale Design Strategies

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Concept Sketch of Tidal Marshlands

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Idea Sketch for Street End Access to Canal

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Diagram of Recursive Logic Used to Create Spaces Around Canal Edge

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Initial Model Test of North End

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Detail Study Model of North End

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The Gowanus is a waterway, a neighborhood, and an ecosystem that for much of its length is disconnected from the urban fabric in which it is embedded. Neither wholly man-made nor wholly shaped by nature, the canal in its current state is a cumulative result of both forces.  This proposal straddles the line between the natural and the man-made by carving away, incising, adding to and blurring the canal’s edge in order to create new spaces around it and inside of it that connect people to the water and to the larger urban systems and ecosystems of which it is a part.

North End ( Butler St. to 3rd St.)

This area of the canal is marked by scattered vacant and underused sites that are inaccessible. The proposal looks at activating these spaces by opening up the edge of the canal and creating many connections to the water. The uses are purposely left indeterminate in order to allow for the creativity of the community to find their own program. The pools and aqueducts also function as a water filtration system, continuing to improve water quality over time.

Middle Marsh (3rd St. to 9th St.)

An area marked by large tracts of vacant land,  this portion of the canal is a transitional zone poised for an increase in population density. The proposal here calls for widening the canal by re-establishing tidal marshlands and creating major access points for active recreation, including boat launches, a grassy hill, and boardwalks.

Harbor (Expressway to the Bay)

The proposal here calls for a series of piers, docks, and causeways built in to the water. At the terminus of each of these piers is a series of towers that become islands at high tide. They act as beacons for the shipping lanes, create a landmark for the Gowanus, and create a dramatic experience of New York Harbor