Six finalists have been announced for the 'Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge' international competition, which will see the iconic New York bridge reinvented into a thriving public space that is activated for the people of the city. Take a look at the finalists.
Van Alen and the New York City Council have announced the six finalists for the Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge international competition, in both the Professional and Young Adult categories.
Inspiring participants to rethink the iconic Brooklyn Bridge walkway, the contest gathered short-term interventions and long-term proposals for a complete reconfiguration of the bridge. The three final teams in the Professional category include BIG and ARUP; ScenesLab, Minzi Long and Andrew Nash; and Pilot Projects Design Collective, Cities4Forests, Wildlife Conservation Society, Grimshaw and Silman.
A symbol for the city itself, the bridge is crossed by thousands of pedestrians and cyclists every day, and can become crammed, uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe. In response to these conditions, the New York City Council and Van Alen Institute “launched the international design competition that aims to spark a new public conversation about New York City’s infrastructure”.
An opportunity to rethink the bridge as a pedestrian-friendly structure that is part of the public spaces of the city, the Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge competition primarily tackles the needs of the community. The Brooklyn Bridge, one of New York’s most recognisable and photographed landmarks, has the potential to serve as testing grounds for equitable, accessible and sustainable transportation options. The contest also encourages the creation of a healthy and safe environment while generating opportunities for small businesses.
The chosen proposals were selected by an interdisciplinary jury for their compelling and optimistic approaches. The jury considered the following factors: team composition, accessibility and safety, environmental benefit and security, respect for the bridge’s landmark status, feasibility, and ‘magic’ – i.e. new ideas that surprise, delight and fascinate.
While each team is now working with Van Alen, the New York City Council, local stakeholders and civic institutions to refine their proposals, on July 23 the public can hear from finalists and cast votes online in a Design Showdown. Online voting will be live July 23–30 and the winner will be announced in late August.
FINALISTS IN THE PROFESSIONAL CATEGORY
BACK TO THE FUTURE
BIG & ARUP | New York
Back to the Future seeks to return the bridge to its original state, both architecturally and functionally, and pilots innovations in autonomous mobility and public space design. By removing cars and related ramps, and providing more space for pedestrians, bikes and transit, this proposal moves more people and creates a stronger connection between Downtown Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, and beyond.
ScenesLab, Minzi Long & Andrew Nash | New York, Boston, and Vienna
Bridge X proposes a Brooklyn Bridge that evolves in response to public feedback and adapts from a pandemic to post-pandemic era. Through a phased approach, Bridge X reimagines the upper and lower decks to reclaim space for greater pedestrian and cyclist access, to make room for vendors and small businesses, and to offer new modes of engagement with the bridge.
Digital tools and design interventions enable visitors to more easily access, explore, and reflect on their experiences of the bridge.
BROOKLYN BRIDGE FOREST
Pilot Projects Design Collective, Cities4Forests, Wildlife Conservation Society, Grimshaw, and Silman | New York and Montreal
Brooklyn Bridge Forest reimagines the bridge as an icon of climate action and social equity, improving mobility while respecting the landmark structure. The historic wooden walkway is expanded using planks sustainably sourced from a partner community in Guatemala that protects a 200,000-acre rainforest. A dedicated bike path and reclaimed traffic lane create new space for cyclists and low-carbon transit, while biodiverse ‘microforests’ at either end of the bridge bring nature to New York City, and serve as green spaces for underserved communities.
FINALISTS IN THE YOUNG ADULT CATEGORY
Lukas Kugler and New Milford | Connecticut
With sensitivity to different user groups, The Artery creates a contiguous modern transportation corridor between boroughs. On the bridge, the design incorporates designated spaces for vendors and three separate pathways for cyclists, runners, and pedestrians.
The substantial incorporation of greenery provides natural borders between these paths, creating an improved experience while encouraging native plants and wildlife to inhabit the bridge.
THE CULTURAL CURRENT
Aubrey Bader and Maggie Redding | Knoxville, Tennessee
Using a brightly coloured path and cultural markers, The Cultural Current proposes a fluid integration of surrounding neighbourhoods into a transportation and public space network that crosses the bridge. The proposal uses colour in a playful way that’s also helpful for wayfinding, reuses existing wood boards and recycled plastic, and plans to phase car traffic off the lower roadway.
DO LOOK DOWN
Shannon Hui, Kwans Kim and Yujin Kim | Hong Kong, California and New York
Do Look Down’s installation of a glass surface above the bridge’s girders creates a whimsical new pedestrian space activated through art installations and seasonal programming. The lower roadway is converted into additional walkable and human-powered transport space that also offers opportunities for local vendors and performers.
Powered by kinetic paving, an LED and projection system is mobilised to honour the city’s cultures, histories, and identities.
DO LOOK DOWN Shannon Hui, Kwans Kim and Yujin Kim
Via ArchDaily | Images courtesy of Van Alen Institute