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Posted 06.14.10 | PERMALINK | ESSAY

Brian Davis, and Julienne Schaer: Building Brooklyn Bridge Park: An Interview with Matthew Urbanski



Brooklyn Bridge Park: Under Construction

Pier 1 of Brooklyn Bridge Park, which opened on March 22, is already, as landscape historian Ethan Carr writes in his essay in Reconstructing Urban Landscapes, "a landscape that reaches out to its watery edge, embraces it, and exploits the diverse ecologies, experiences, and recreational pursuits to be found there.”

The first phase of the park, Pier 1 offers diverse experiences at the water’s edge, not least of which is the chance to watch the construction of other phases — the processes of earth-moving, deconstructing and constructing, paving and planting — from its various overlooks and perches. While Pier 1 is built on landfill and surrounded by an existing bulkhead, other phases — including the six piers — will be constructed on floating docks and piles.

The detailed elements and spaces of Pier 1 — shown here under construction and shortly before opening, in photographs by Julienne Schaer — belie a thoughtful consideration of the site-specific characteristics and the pragmatic necessities of a public park in New York, and also an understanding of the site histories. This approach bodes well for the later phases, and for the integration of the park into the history and the life of the city.

Brian Davis

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ABOUT THE ESSAY

Building Brooklyn Bridge Park: An Interview with Matthew Urbanski
On Places, landscape designer Brian Davis interviews Matthew Urbanski, principal of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, about Brooklyn Bridge Park, a major new public park in New York City.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Davis has worked for urban design practices in New York City and Buenos Aires; he writes the landscape architecture blog FASLANYC.
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Julienne Schaer, formerly a forensic photographer for the Manhattan District Attorney’s office, specializes in editorial photojournalism.
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