Grand Army Plaza Competition

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We propose to transform Grand Army Plaza from a Traffic Circle into a Garden Gate for Brooklyn. GAP can be a welcoming place, a destination in its own right. To accomplish this, we propose to radically reduce the street surface and other paved areas in the Plaza, reduce the scale of the berms, improve subway access, and transform the Farmer's Market into a more permanent establishment.

As a team, we believe strongly that Grand Army Plaza will only survive through a radical rethinking of the structure of this urban jewel.

The current configuration of GAP is almost entirely focused on accommodating the flow of automobile and truck traffic as efficiently as possible through one of the most significant surface transportation hubs in the city. While this is fairly well accomplished, and is being constantly refined to further improve flow, speed, and presumably safety through the area, all of these efforts in toto add up to deepening disassociation with the Urban Fabric.

GAP is a product of Haussmann era planning theories overlaid with Robert Moses, post-Moses and post-post-Moses era NYC policy. Too much for Brooklyn!

Instead, we propose an Entropic transformation from traffic to recreation, local commerce, and personalized transport. We believe that large-scale transportation needs can still be met with a minimized and much simplified road; on the weekends road that can be completely closed to traffic following the model of the road closings in Prospect Park.

One idea that would simplify connections from Plaza to surrounding area, namely burying the roadways, was roundly rejected as an unsophisticated and scarring approach. While apparently an improvement, one need only walk from Cobble Hill to Cobble Hill West, or from Prospect Park Southwest to Ocean Parkway, to understand how inappropriate this type of solution is to 21st Century Brooklyn.

Perhaps the most significant landscaping accomplishment is the reduction of the scale of the berms from dividers to uniters. Our plan to reduce the speed and scale of traffic around the Plaza places less emphasis on noise reduction. The berms will be reduced to create a gently rolling landscape, reminiscent of the moraine-scape that became Park Slope, and provide an engaging, playful environment, integrating the Fountain and the Arch as crowning fabricated spectacles of a reconnected city.

Finally, we want to say that the entire project team lives and works within 10 minutes of GAP, and the Farmer's Market is our Saturday morning go-to social event. Favorites Include: Ray Bradley, Bill Maxwell and Blue Moon!