PEG office of landscape + architecture has won first place in the 2010 Emerging New York Architects (ENYA) international ideas competition. PEG (Keith VanDerSys and Karen M’Closkey) teamed with PennDesign landscape architecture students Marisa Bernstein, Young Joon Choi and Marguerite Graham.
The ENYA competition is sponsored each year by the New York Chapter of the AIA. This year’s competition theme was HB:BX Building Cultural Infrastructure. As part of the award, PEG will co-curate an exhibit of the work at Storefront for Architecture in New York.
Ripple Effect is a network of social spaces organized to entwine the cultural, environmental, and historical contexts that make Highbridge unique.
Our proposal is a circuit of displays, interlacing the programs of art, recreation and landscape in order to create unique or unexpected adjacencies among them.
The circuit is a distributed system whose organization is inspired by the line-arc configuration that forms both the steel and masonry structures of the bridge as well as the tangle of transport infrastructure below. The line-arc geometry loops on itself to form a series of clusters – infra-blooms – that are collectors for both artistic and environmental performance, which gather people, activities, and water.
The system of infra-blooms supports three distinct areas for display: intermittent (landscape), interstitial (bridge) and internal (building).
Intermittent display is a network of paths, pools, puddles and ponds located on the Manhattan side of Highbridge where the landscape is restructured to support various activities.
The infra-blooms function as a water-cleansing system that collects and filters rainfall, and then channels it back to the aqueduct where it falls, days later, into the Harlem River.
This rain delay – a temporal gap from storm-event to bridge-event – reinstates the presence of the river and establishes a previously absent connection between the river and the aqueduct.
By reversing the flow, the aqueduct is transformed from a distribution pipe that transports water from distant sources to a collecting reservoir that returns clean water back to the river, thereby inverting the historical trend of isolated infrastructures that promote the contamination and disregard of local waterways.
The intermittent curtain of water falling from the bridge can be engaged by visitors and artists in a variety of ways.
The exposed nature of these dispersed displays is tied to the temporal aspects of the landscape and the weather events that determine the amount of water capture. Art programming in this area supports informal or unanticipated performance spaces and gatherings. The existing swimming pool facilities are reconfigured as a series of blooms that open them up to both the park and the performance spaces, thereby creating adjacencies among art, recreation, and landscape.
Interstitial display allows for gathering on and within the bridge. The pipe from the old aqueduct is removed and the water-reservoir that collects cleaned water from the infra-blooms is reconfigured and housed within the structure. This enables people to access the space underneath the bridge, providing a unique destination for art displays and a place to experience the rain fall. The surface of the bridge itself is configured with a series of small petals that hold planting, water, and provide linkages to the space below.
Ripple Effect is a tangle of possibilities tying together building, bridge and landscape; a series of interchanges that encourage unpredictability and possibilities for artistic, recreational, educational, and environmental exchanges to occur.