The following project comes from a cross-disciplinary architecture, landscape architecture, and planning studio taught at PennDesign in the Fall of 2019. The project, Industrial Sponge Zone, aims to address issues of environmental, social and economic resilience among the communities of Brooklyn and Queens that touch the Newtown Creek. Sea level rise and industrial reorganization provide the catalyst for change in this part of New York City.
The charge of the studio was to engage the site at multiple scales and from multiple actor perspectives. How can this type of industry survive both flooding and gentrification? How can the creek become a place of recreation for the community? How can heavy industry and thriving communities coexist in this place?
The project imagines a re-naturalization of the Newtown Creek, including the reconstruction of several islands of concentrated heavy industry. The buffer zone created by this land reclamation effort will aid in cleaning the creek, give residents recreation space, and protect the neighborhood from flood events of increasing regularity and intensity.
At the scale of the building, the project then imagines this transformation manifesting architecturally as a new center for urban logistics. Facilities like the one proposed will combine high-intensity warehousing and transportation with wholesale retail, while also providing the public with new access points to a previously hidden creek.
Team member: Quan Hao Huynh