8 september 2011

Yale Reinvents Red Hook, 2006

In search for some interesting images of the Red Hook waterfront, I stumbled upon an article concerning a thesis project held five years ago at Yale School of Architecture. Led by associate professor Edward Mitchell, the graduate students were given the theoretical project of reinventing Red Hook. They proposed several make-overs, each one challenging and far-ranging, and covering multiple themes including social housing and livable urban space.

Red Hook - Sugar Factory

Although the projects were pure theoretical in nature, the students were given design challenges that are still to this day real issues for Red Hook: "Are green space and urban space mutually exclusive? Is waterfront an obsolete asset? Is Red Hook just an isolated urban island? How do you integrate the diverse sectors of Red Hook, which include public housing, industrial sites, substantial (but inaccessible) park areas, and a waterfront (also largely inaccessible to the public)?"

Model of Red Hook waterfront area design proposal
"The visions produced in these renderings and 3D models are diverse and provocative. Possibilities for Red Hook range from a naturalistic recreation park with camping, an animal preserve, a golf course, a grand canal, water sports and fishing, to selling off park space and promoting large-scale private development. One radical view unveils a "CarPark" that provides Red Hook with some additional 31,021 parking spaces and doubles as a large regional public park. Perhaps less radical, another project contemplates an "Historic Red Hook", side-by-side with a "Street Car Suburb", public housing, beach, entertainment and a farm. And what about those big box stores? Controversy is not avoided here. One model advocates that big box stores and the like should be not be resisted but viewed as assets with the aim of dispersing them throughout Red Hook as "smart growth". The premise for this project is that the problem is not large-scale development itself, but the concentration of such developments along the water's edge where traffic flow and proximity to public transportation is limited."
View of possible private development at waterfront

Since this assignment at Yale shows significant similarities with STUDIO Brooklyn themes, it's worth exploring more of the proposals the students presented.


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