Brooklyn, New York
Client: Design Trust for Public Space
Sup.: 4,5 ha
Team: Jordi Safont-Tria + Zurita Architects
Olmstead and Vaux’s initial plan intended to create a public space with a clear geometry that responded to the encounter of diverse city fabrics, functioning as a threshold between City and Park. From a contemporary perspective, our proposal strengthens the essence of the place by introducing activities of the contemporary city.
CAR TRAFFIC. The chaotic existing junction is transformed into a roundabout with two concentric ellipses, splitting local from express traffic. Importantly, it provides flexibility for vehicular traffic by providing multiple access points choices that drivers can easily navigate.
TRANSPORTATION HUB. The site is understood as a threshold between City and Park and also as vestibule for cultural and leisure activities. We bring the subway station into the Plaza. The extension of the existing IRT platform will benefit from having daylight and views of the Plaza including Bailey Fountain, the Memorial Arch, the Park and all its cultural events. Here an exchange of transportation modes could take place: pedestrians, bicycles, trains and cars would be interconnected.
TOPOGRAPHY. The proposal extends the existing berms to create a wider landscape which bridges over the express traffic. By covering the center lanes, the plan reduces the automobile’s impact on the surrounding neighborhoods, and allows pedestrians to cross over to the Plaza by walking on the topography.
By using different strata for each system (pedestrians/cars/subway) the landscape interconnects them while minimizing conflict. As a result, the design proposes a landscaped surface that connects the surrounding neighborhoods while bridging over express vehicular traffic. Underneath this surface, various community programs (café, bike rental, restrooms, information center, etc.) are placed which relate to the Plaza. The Plaza is conceived as a neutral plane with the existing main features – the Arch, Fountain and trees superimposed onto it. The lowest level is where the subway system connects this important site in Brooklyn to the rest of the great Metropolis.