Have the winning entries in a recent competition provided a convincing
vision for transforming a closed landfill?
By Rebecca Krinke
Fresh Kills Landfill is the largest landfill in the world. At 2,200
acres, it is almost three times the size of Central Park. The landfill
served as a repository for New York City's trash for more than 50
years, although it was not full when it closed. Before the landfill
was closed, Staten Island residents endured streams of trash trucks,
raucous seagulls, odors, and trash swirling from the landfill. After
years of citizen and political pressureincluding a lawsuit
about air pollutionstate and local legislation closed Fresh
Kills Landfill in March 2001. Shortly thereafter a two-stage international
competition was announced to reinvent the landfill. Proposals were
invited to "generate ideas and innovative designs to meet the needs
of the city's communities and that respond to the natural and constructed
nature of the site." Although the proposals have much in common
with a public park, this was not specifically the request of the
competition brief. Three finalists have recently been announced
from the final six candidates. The winning teams are as follows:
first place, Field Operations (James Corner/Stan Allen Landscape
Architecture), Philadelphia and New York; second place, JMP Landscape
and John McAslan + Partners, London; and third place, Rios Associates,
Inc., Los Angeles. The city encouraged interdisciplinary teams,
and all of the six finalists created diverse teams of experts, ranging
from engineering, ecology, and transportation to media and art.
Serving on the jury were Laurie Olin, FASLA; urban designer Angela
Danadjieva; architect Charles Gwathmey; Phil Shaw, an environmental
consultant from London; and four officials from the city of New
York, representing the departments of environmental protection,
parks, planning, and state. Each of the three winning teams is now
eligible to be retained by the city to prepare a draft end-use master
plan. The three winners will be invited to submit a more detailed
scope of work, and one of the teams will be selected this summer.
An interagency group will select the designer, using the jury's
ranking and the group's own evaluations of each team's qualifications
as equal players in the selection process. Funding is in place to
proceed with the first phase of construction.
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