The Gowanus expressway project seeks to reinvigorate the existing urban fabric through the development of new infrastructures to replace the existing outdated systems. The removal of the overhead highway presents several opportunities for growth. This design scheme addresses the complex network of circulation systems that exist in the neighborhood. Cars, Tractor Trailers, Trains, Ships, Pedestrian, Bicycles, Buses, and Subways, exist in tight proximity. The streets and buildings themselves are incredibly outdated. This industrial infrastructure cannot accommodate 60 foot long vehicles; tight corners cause delays in the flow; the buildings lack adequate loading access; warehouses are not properly suited to accommodate today’s global economy.
The scheme is led by the development of a new road system, one designed to maximize space and minimize time of travel to the industrial area. The proposal calls for the expressway to buried beneath second avenue. A New industrial road system is designed to the specifications of tractor trailer trucks; turning radii and docking designs inform the development of a new industrial zone. With new technologies, there is less need for inventory, and more need for product movement and distribution. Hence, less actual storage space, but more transportation interface. The project provides equivalent square footage to the existing, but allows for 240 easily accessible off-street loading docks. The new industrial buildings will be “smart”, designed to incorporate today’s infrastructural needs. Along the western edge of Third Avenue is a new commercial buffer zone, serviced from behind, to soften the industrial edge. Along the 11 block strip of new industrial development there are three crossings from third avenue to the water, two large pedestrian bridge/parks, with housing, institutional and cultural programs, and one surface street. The southern of the two bridge/ parks links to the proposed waterfront park.
The excessive expression of the project is intentional. When considering the very pragmatic necessities that are being dealt with, turning radii, new roads, etc..., we have attempted to find opportunities within these seemingly closed systems. By combining different systems and parameters of vehicular movement and building volume, there arises the possibility for a new architectural expression for Sunset Park. The proposal is not intended to be understood as finished buildings, but rather should be understood as possible reconfigurations, and additions to the existing fabric. The scheme is similar to a zoning strategy, but with much more information, introducing possible architectural organizations and additions that would not be possible without the new network of infrastructures, choreographed in ways to address todays global and local condition.