- PROGRAM: Pedestrian Path, Cyclable Path, Park
- CLIENT: Transportation Alternatives
- PARTNER IN CHARGE: Alessandro Orsini
- PROJECT ARCHITECT: David Van Der Leer
- TEAM: Giulio Giannini, Verena Schmidt
A familiar sight in the Midwest and eastern regions of the United States mammatus clouds are pouch-like shapes that often appear during warm summer months, indicating strong storms. Hanging in cellular patterns underneath the base of clouds these mammatus formations occur as a grouping of lobe. Unequal- or similarly-sized pouches clump together and can vary in shape from isolated clusters to fields of mamma that spread over hundreds of kilometers, to being organized along lines running through the skies. Although proposed as a design competition for the intersection of 4th Avenue and 9th Street we would like to argue that Brooklyn needs more exemplary urban visions of people and neighborhoods connected through pleasant public spaces, than the mere reconstruction of an intersection. Especially 4th Avenue, now purely used by anonymous speed devils, carries a promise to Brooklyn that is much larger than its current interpretation as industrial thoroughfare. Over the coming years this six-mile linear strip that connects Downtown Brooklyn and Bay Ridge through highly diverse areas as Gowanus, Park Slope and Sunset Park, will see a steady growth of residential developments along its sides. This situation urgently calls for the transformation from an inhospitable urban race track to a contemporary version of the linear park systems that have proven to be vital to other areas of Brooklyn over the past century. The linear cloud will function as an acoustical barrier to the former strip of speed while at the same time activating the urban fabric into a vibrant public space that connects otherwise isolated neighborhoods. Key locations along the strip – that will be dotted with trees – have access points for both cyclists and pedestrians that once on the strip can opt for fast movable or slow walkways and the cycle paths. Along these traffic lines one finds quiet areas where one can sit on the benches surrounded by tree tops. During the day the cloud of pouch-like modules, which range from opaque to transparent glass, subtly filters the sunlight over the road. At night the previously exhausting red and white lights of the cars and traffic lights are refracted to the upper level that glows in a continuous changing rhythm that varies from white, to pink, to red depending on the car traffic on the ground level. The system is a plug-in temporary structure that could be used for other important intersections in New York City. As a part of our investigation we considered the followings other location: Broadway and 7th avenue in Manhattan, Flatbush Avenue and Fulton Street in Brooklyn.