Ground Exposure Plane

City waterfronts are among the most prolific typologies of current post industrial urban revitalization. New York City in particular has set forth as a goal of the 2030 PlanNYC to remediate and reactivate its waterways. The fabric of the city waterfront is presently shifting from now waning industry towards new landscapes of service and recreation. Recent speculative work has further utilized green infrastructure as a design mechanism for re-envisioning the waterfront's inherent identity as a place of dynamic boundaries, infrastructures, and occupancies. Certain waterfronts with more tumultuous industrial histories hold inherent pressures which work in seeming opposition to redevelopment. This first research and design project of the Redesign Remediation Workshop focusing on the Gowanus Canal area of New York proposes to undertake research which proposes the inverse; that design and development can provide a mutually beneficial instigation at these more contentious waterfronts. Design, development, and the inherent energies required to mediate the toxic waste of past uses, outmoded infrastructural dilemmas, and rising water levels, can be merged through new modes of multi-disciplinary design and piggybacking project implementation. The Gowanus project will be characterized by the overlaying of existing occupancies, structures, and infrastructures with a multi-layered filtering of public, private, and infrastructural access and occupancies, and enabled by similarly multi-layered new development and partnership models. A "Ground Exposure Plane" will be envisioned three dimensionally with new green infrastructures, continuous and variably open terrains, and development patterns organized as much by light and air and remediation requirements as they are by the conventions of access, ownership, and flexibility. The Gowanus project will act – environmentally, urbanistically, architecturally - as a filter as well as a new model of design and implementation.