GAP(grand army plaza) Brooklyn. New York, USA

 

program Public Space Design / Planning
location Brooklyn NY, USA
developer GAPCO.
architect aotu architecture office ltd.
surface 8ha
budget -
schedule Shortlisted - ranked 4th / 250entries - exhibition brooklyn 09/2008

 

Brief analysis of GAP Brooklyn, enlighten several issues: chaotic traffic organization, original composition is lacking visibility, public space not appropriable by the citizens, social activities lack diversity and finally the gap is currently not acting as a link between the 4 surrounding districts.
1.
raffic had to be completely reconsidered and clarified. We want to reorganize the GAP like the Tilsit St. around the French place de l’Etoile in Paris (Round in shape square, Champs Elysees). Cars run around the center public space that is totally free of cars and therefore appropriated by the passersby. It is the scene of various activities.
Pedestrian and car traffic flows are now distinguished.
Gap central space is also suffering from being totally divorced from its periphery by a large, thick and dense green bank that is totally impassable. Our design proposes to prolong the surrounding street (perpendicular to plaza st.) toward the center of the square by cutting off this green barrier. Only the trees at these specific locations will be removed and all others will be kept. Consequently, the GAP is physically acting as a center: the 4 surroundings districts are linked together.
2.
The original composition of the GAP is totally blurred by the present organization of the traffic. Our design will reinforce the original composition, by both emphasizing the ovular shape (traffic) and creating an HISTORICAL STRIP (pedestrian) that follows a north-south direction.
Alongside this historical axis are set all the major monuments of the plaza: The mise-en-scene starts from the north with the ‘urban theatre’ (music concerts, skateboarding, performances: view 02) runs through the central fountain and ends on the south part of the GAP at the polyvalent square (Sailor’s arch, market, starting point of the carnival etc: view 05)
3.
The major goal of the GAP renovation project is not only to create a physical center but also a social Center of gravity for the surrounding districts. ACTIVITY SLOPES is our concept to organize a social and cultural point of interest: their function is open for discussion but we propose an art (walk thru) gallery, neighborhood house with basketball court atop, small café and restaurants with terrace, newspaper kiosk, etc…
The green slopes are open to the public, and can be used as a playfield, sculpture exhibition, picnic area, sunbathing area, etc.
 
 
The GAP plaza has fantastic potential given its strategic location, generous scale and beautiful composition. We want our design not only to emphasize its assets but going beyond by creating a scene for various activities. GAP has to take an important role in the urban activity of the Brooklyn borough and little by little reaching the Symbolic value it deserves.
 
 
 
 

Plaza St.
Sidewalks of Plaza St. East and West are expanded to create a buffer zone from the buildings ground floor to the roads. The car park will only be allowed on the periphery of the GAP plaza, not alongside the Plaza St sidewalk.
 
 
 
Car Traffic
3 rows of cars running one-way counter clockwise will drain the whole traffic flow. The inner part of the square becomes a car-free zone. Traffic lights at strategic points allow pedestrians to reach the center part of the plaza.
 
 
Historical Axis
All the historical monuments, according to the existing composition, are set on a north-south axis; nevertheless, their access is discontinued due to the existing traffic condition. Our design proposes to create a strip that links them altogether along a stroll.
 
 
Permeability
From the surrounding of the square, the green areas have become permeable to sight toward the center of the square.
All the surrounding streets perspective will end up inside the GAP plaza: it finally becomes a new crossroad and the gathering point of all the adjacent districts.
 
 
Existing Trees
Our design fully respects the existing trees. Nevertheless, some trees may have to be removed or relocated to manage some accesses to the center of the plaza.
 
 
 
Program
Our program (opened for discussion) was designed to create a new social center of gravity for the districts. Various activities will enrich the experience of the GAP plaza.