American Society of Landscape Architects ASLA 2007 Student Awards
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Williamsburg Bridge Park | Site Plan.
Williamsburg Bridge Park
Site Potential.
Idea: Create an open space under the bridge. Change adjacent parking lots into an open spaces.
Goals: Connect the neighborhood to the waterfront. Create a local center of LES reconnecting the blocked neighborhoods by the bridge.
Strategy: Structured vs. open. Split and connect (vehicular). Link Major open space (pedestrian).
Program: Program adjacency. Hanging Parking Lot.
Design Metaphor: Bridge split and folded.



Williamsburg Bridge Park
Jihyun Yoo, Student ASLA
Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Faculty Advisors: Craig Verzone, International ASLA; Charlie Cannon

"Taking surface parking adjacent to the approach and making it a green space is an ingenious capture of lost space in the urban fabric. Well done!"

— 2008 Student Awards Jury Comments

Project Statement:

The Williamsburg Bridge Park project addresses the potential of a huge abandoned space that has not been noticed in the urban context and the potential of infrastructure not as a barrier but as a bridging system which connects neighborhoods and open spaces. It also explores the possibility of infrastructure as an environmental instrument which purifies the polluted run off, attenuates noise associate with the infrastructure and creates renewable energy.

Project Narrative: 

I focused on the Williamsburg Bridge in the Lower East Side of Manhattan New York, as an infrastructure that not only links Manhattan to Brooklyn, but also connects the neighborhood to the East River Park. The area near the Essex St - Delancey St station is the neighborhood center of the Lower East Side in which a lot of cultural amenities are located. However, Delancey, which connects the neighborhood center and the East River Park, is rather underutilized and desolate because of the huge structure of the Williamsburg Bridge. Therefore, I paid attention to the potential of the abandoned space under the infrastructure as “a bridge” that connects the neighborhood to the open space and connects the neighborhoods which were blocked by the bridge.

This site has several opportunities. The size of the huge abandoned space under the bridge is 100 ft wide 78 ft high at the highest part and the Delancey itself is 260 ft wide. Street traffic is low and the street is occupied by street parking because Delancey does not directly connect to the major FDR highway near it. Also, the site has adjacent available spaces.
The idea of this project is to move the existing street parking to a hanging parking lot underneath the bridge using a robotic parking system and to create open space under the bridge. This robotic parking also includes changing the adjacent existing parking lots into open spaces.

The spatial strategy is first to make a structured space under the bridge utilizing and adjusting the bridge structure to allow the other space to remain open. Second, to split the structure to allow for the streets to continue. Third, to link the major open spaces with a pedestrian pathway.

Programs are introduced based on the site condition and spatial constraints caused by the bridge. Indoor sports facilities such as basketball court, gym, and swimming pool are introduced near existing playground and new obtained open space. A senior center and daycare center is placed adjacent to the existing daycare center and children’s school. A kiddy pool and kid’s gym which can be utilized by both daycare center and gym, are introduced in the center. A new cinema and a grocery store are introduced utilizing nearby open spaces. This whole program is linked to the existing pedestrian bridge on top of the Williamsburg bridge and to the East River Park. Finally, the robotic parking system will be on the top.

The design metaphor comes from the bridge. Split and folded spaces contain diverse activities such as cinemas, outdoor cafeterias and pedestrian bridges. Inserting building masses provide diverse spatial use of the inside and outside. Corrugated surfaces create inhabitable surfaces and indoor spaces.

This bridge will also work as an environmental instrument. The robotic parking system and the cladding will attenuate the noise coming down from the bridge and traveling horizontally. Solar panels will create energy which will be used to light the space under the bridge. Polluted runoff from the bridge will be reused as gray water for toilets or be treated by a treatment pond system. Trees near the bridge will clean and filter the polluted air.


Design Metaphor: Bridge folded and inserted.
Design Metaphor: Bridge corrugated.
As an Environmental instrument.
Plan and section.
Parking lot on weekdays.
Swimming pool.
Basketball Court.
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