Pearl Street Triangle "Ideas Competition"

In March, the Dumbo Improvement District (DUMBO BID) issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for design schemes and ideas that re-envision the public space known as the Pearl Street Triangle from professional architects and designers that reside or work in Dumbo.

Once a parking lot and illegal dumping site, the DUMBO BID with NYC DOT, opened the transformed Pearl Street Triangle on August 8, 2007, complete with its signature bright green paint, street furniture and public art features as a temporary treatment to gage the community’s response and usage of the space. In the three years since, the DUMBO BID is looking towards future uses of the public space and hopes that this competition will spur some thought on how the Pearl Street Triangle should evolve as an innovative and functional public space for Dumbo.

They showcased 8 design proposals in May. Last night, the DUMBO BID announced the winner of the Pearl Street Triangle “Ideas Competition.” The winner was by Brendan Coburn, AIA of Coburn Architecture (based at 45 Main Street) and his project designers, Yuliya Ilizarov and Abdou Ndoye titled “The Tracks: Ride the Rails!”

Project Name: The Tracks: Ride the Rails!
Description: The Tracks plaza takes it’s inspiration from the myriad of rail lines that at one time weaved their way through the industrial streets of DUMBO. As these tracks emerge from beneath the pavement surrounding the triangle they become the armature for a series of tiered seats that wind through the site to create three amphitheater-like spaces: the first, facing the Manhattan Bridge, is delineated by seating for films projected onto the masonry wall that encloses the arch beneath the bridge; the second, a performance and display space enclosed by two opposing tiers; and the third, where a low tier hugs a series of in-ground fountains. Shallow alcoves are molded underneath the higher tiers, welcoming local artists to display their creations.

All of the submissions were interesting and had a different spin on the use of the public space. There was even one that proposed adding a subway stop at the Manhattan Bridge anchor above the Triangle with an elevator/stairs down below. How do you think the space should be used? Other submissions after the jump.

Project Name: Synergy of Movement and Connectivity
Description: Entering Dumbo and the triangle is to enter a place that was created before cars, and it remains staunchly rooted in that past. The Triangle is alive with the phantom energy of that past industriousness. The energy is palpable and modern-day people flock there to experience the vibe. Our design concept is born of this vibe and energy. Our triangle works with the textures and patterns wrought from the steel rails and bridge; the stone streets and bridge and phantom energies of the men who once worked this street hauling materials to manufacture products, excavating earth to erect this massive bridge.

Project Name: Pearl Street Triangle Project
Description: FUNCTIONAL: The Triangle Design is intended to be used. Most every part is occupy-able for specific use or provides a space for improvised use. DURABLE: The Triangle Design is constructed by masonry, concrete, and steel. It is an all weather shell that will require little maintenance and stand up to the elements. The interior is open air although it can easily be retrofitted to be climate controlled. SPECTACLE: The tiered seating is intended to be used by any number of groups and persons but most of all it is intended to simply imply an audience for watching everyday activities.

Project Name: Pearl Street Piano

Description: This design utilizes the natural shape of the Pearl Street Triangle and transform it into the world’s largest interactive piano/fountain/park. The benches and trees provide a comfortable, safe and fun social area. Adults and children will enjoy the larger than life and educational piano. When a person steps on a note, it will make a sound (think, the movie “Big” but…bigger). During hot summer days, kids will play in music note shaped water jet fountain. During summer nights, the fountain lights up in vibrant 110 York Street colors. We were inspired by Jay-Z, music and art, nature and Dumbo features.

Project Name: Embedded Crossroads
Description: The Pearl Street Triangle is a bare bones pocket park. As a street level pedestrian space reclaimed from a parking lot it is a veritable tabula rasa– literally outlined. This blank slate is begging to be etched and folded to better harbor central community activites and lively gatherings. Embedded Crossroads concretizes the triangles current occupational tendencies by augmenting pedestrian infrastructure. Human scaled vertical elements interplay with adjustments to Dumbo’s existing surface vernacular– blurring edges while defining pedestrian space for crossing and inhabiting. While planters, benches, a wall, and surface textures suggest certain modes of pedestrian habitation, the space remains ultimately adaptable.

Project Name: DUMB-O Triangle
Description: The DUMB-O Triangle proposal highlights the unique character of the neighborhood by creating a contemporary and contextual open plaza. The introduction of Google Maps has provided a new language for navigating our world. The desolate but central location of the Pearl Street Triangle demands a new identity. Our proposal aims to address both the physical and virtual inhabitants of the space. At eye level, the physical structure defines a modern day piazza, a space for social gathering. Seen from space, the DUMB-O triangle becomes a graphic marker for the center of historic Dumbo.

Project Name: Anchoring Dumbo
Description: What a thrill to descend from the Belvedere of the Manhattan Bridge, 90 feet above Dumbo on your bicycle and arrive in the newly conceived Dumbo Anchorage Square. Or walking from the pedestrian path of the Manhattan Bridge from Chinatown, and descending wide stairs with landings, similar to SOHO fire escapes, that allow visitors to linger and take in the waterfront vistas of Dumbo and the Manhattan skyline beyond. Below the street, visitors can partake in the spontaneous and organized events in the Square, travel to the water’s edge at the Empire Fulton Ferry Park, or visit the various cafes, shops and stores in Dumbo.

Project Name: Access + Connection = Innovation
Description: The proposed design establishes connections between Dumbo and the surrounding urban fabric by 3 methods which culminate the Pearl Street Triangle: (1) Create a subway stop on the Manhattan Bridge and connecting it to the Pearl Street Triangle w/ elevators and a ramp. The ramp is programmed w/ bike storage, lockers, restrooms, showers, and a viewing platform. (2) Close off Anchorage Place to create a public plaza which may be seen as an extension and an entrance to the Brooklyn Bridge Park. The public plaza is designed integrally with the ramp to the subway stop and creates a node in the city fabric. (3) Create a “Commercial Corridor” beneath the Manhattan Bridge, guiding pedestrian traffic into the heart of Dumbo.


Also: Bold vision for Pearl Street Triangle in DUMBO, 22Jun2010, NYP