November 17, 2009  |  Design, Rising Currents
Rising Currents: Meet the Project Teams

As of yesterday, the Rising Currents teams are now in residence at P.S.1. I’ve asked each of the team leaders to share some of their initial thoughts with you. Here are their reflections on their designated sites and the architects-in-residence program.

ZONE 1: David J. Lewis, Marc Tsurumaki, Paul Lewis, LTL Architects

Team LTL hits the ground running or, to be precise, the ambiguous line between ground and water in a site mostly constructed by dredging and infill over the past hundred years. We are thrilled to be given the opportunity by MoMA to work collaboratively at P.S.1 through Rising Currents to investigate the challenges and opportunities that face the uncertain future of the harbor area. While the site given is local, primarily defined by Liberty State Park and the two historic islands, the challenge is global. We look forward to collaborating with our colleagues gathered at P.S.1.

Zone 1

View of Historic Ferry Slip

zone 1

View of New Jersey Turnpike from LTL Architects site

ZONE 2: Matthew Baird, Matthew Baird Architects

We believe that the challenges presented by MoMA’s Rising Currents workshop demand two interrelated paths of inquiry. Through the careful intersection of the existing and the new—the curatorial and the iconic—we hope to embody in our proposal the central theme of a “soft infrastructure” outlined in On the Water—one that is resilient, flexible, and expands the public realm into the area of the harbor waters. Our team understands this challenge as the willful collision of the urban and the maritime to produce an unexpected density and diversity of usages. We are humbled by the powerful processes of nature yet optimistic about design and technology’s ability to work in tandem with those processes.

View of Lower Manhattan from Bayonne Piers. Photo by Maria Milans del Bosch for Matthew Baird Architects

View of Lower Manhattan from Bayonne Piers. Photo by Maria Milans del Bosch for Matthew Baird Architects

Photo by Matthew Baird for Matthew Baird Architects

Shooter’s Island Boat Graveyard. Photo by Matthew Baird for Matthew Baird Architects

ZONE 3: Eric Bunge and Mimi Hoang, nARCHITECTS

The nARCHITECTS team began with a site visit last week, covering the piers at Sunset Park, Owl’s Head Park, the Shore Parkway Esplanade in Bay Ridge, across the Verrazano Bridge to the Forth Worth site on Staten Island, and ending at the Staten Island Recreation Center. For Week one, we are testing prototypical concepts, based on five typical site conditions from our trip, via two parallel studies and sets of models: 1) use + mobility; 2) form + performance. The former will explore new hybrids between programming and transportation strategies, or how one could be the catalyst for the other, with the underlying goal of activating the waterfront zone. The latter will identify water-related performance criteria from the given body of research (i.e. slowing current, absorbing wave energy) and explore possible forms, with a general ambition to soften the boundary between land and water.

nARCHITECTS Zone 3 site diagram

nARCHITECTS Zone 3 site diagram

Composed image of Verrazano Bridge. nARCHITECTS

Composed image of Verrazano Bridge. nARCHITECTS

ZONE 4: Kate Orff, SCAPE Studio

One Man’s Gowanus: Our site, “The Gowanus/Red Hook/Governors Island,” is one of the most in-play in the region, with a dizzying array of proposals—each with a different calculus of clean-up, development, industry, landscape, and housing. GIPEC; the Army Corps of Engineers; the U.S. EPA; the City of New York Department Housing Preservation and Development; the Gowanus Canal CDC; the Dredgers; private developers; countless studios from Parsons, Columbia, Harvard; and others have put forward ideas for its transformation. Yet land use remains locked into a stalemate between toxins and development, industry and residential. MoMA’s Rising Currents presents an opportunity to crack open and synthesize these plans, and to look more broadly at regional scenarios of decontamination, sea-level rise, and storm surge. Rather than start with a review of these disparate plans, we thought to start small and talk with the people who live and work there. As anyone who has had a beer at the Gowanus Yacht Club knows, each individual has an opinion, a history, and a vision for this place. This post represents a starting point: One Man’s Gowanus. This video lets you take a ride on a boat down the Canal with local resident David Lefkowitz: