Consolidated Voids

Critic: Ed Mitchell
Partner: Julianna von Zumbusch

The site is situated along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn, NY, once a busy cargo transportation hub and now a desolate area suffering from a legacy of environmental problems.
The project seeks to find a new way for commercial programs that require large areas to exist within the urban fabric without imposing a large footprint. With the existing plans for a new Whole Foods supermarket involved, the program brief is established to include a digital media archive as well.
Thereby the site is divided into two major parts, one being a commercial and the other being a cultural center in an effort to correct the lack of an urban destination for the residential neighborhoods in the surrounding area.
Therefore, the design process begins by designing the voids demanded by the selected programs which are fostered by the build up of low to mid-rise, high density residential development around the perimeter.
The interiority of the block is a result of the attitude towards the Gowanus Canal as not one of romantic “water front” property but of a toxic zone with little to no hope of remeidation. Therefore the environmental strategy determines the sectional one, where lot parking is taken advantage of another kind of void that removes the “ground plane” from that of the toxic datum and elevates the new long span structure of the inner block.
The layering of the programs in section not only serves to encompass different scales of voids, but also allow for a roof system to integrate into the residential bars and propose a new notion of “back yard” in Brooklyn.