Mixed-use public park project to improve waterfront resilience in North Brooklyn

We have an extraordinary opportunity to provide a catalytic model for natural, urban shorelines that increase resilience, dramatically enhance the Williamsburg shoreline and change the mindset from living against water to living with water.
– Lisa Switkin

Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) have designed a mixed-use development in North Brooklyn that is part-residential, part-public park and part-flood defence.

The aims of the River Street Waterfront Masterplan in redeveloping the former industrial site are to improve the connectivity of the waterfront for the public, reinstate natural habitats, strengthen resiliency and transform the way people interact with the East River.

Anchored by BIG's two flattened, curved towers that will accommodate a total of 1,000 homes, the development will see the creation of 2.9ac (1.2ha) of public open space and around the same again of protected water access.

Access to the water will be promoted via a circular esplanade extending into river, with a protected public beach and in-water areas for activities like boating, fishing, tide pool exploration and, potentially in the future, swimming.

Bjarke Ingels, founding partner and creative director at BIG, said: "The radical transformation of Copenhagen’s port into a swimmable extension of the public space that we helped pioneer two decades ago, now seems to be knocking at the door in Williamsburg and the entire East River. The River Loop will be the first of many invitations for New Yorkers to dip their toes in the water."

Berms, breakwaters, marshes and wetlands will improve waterfront resilience by taking tempering the energy of storm surges, reduce flooding, provide more room for water absorption and reduce reducing erosion.

Lisa Switkin, senior principal at JCFO and lead designer of the park, said: "With our project, we have an extraordinary opportunity to provide a catalytic model for natural, urban shorelines that increase resilience, dramatically enhance the Williamsburg shoreline and change the mindset from living against water to living with water."

Bjarke Ingels Group  James Corner Field Operations  mixed-use 
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) have designed a mixed-use development in North Brooklyn that is part-residential, part-public park and part-flood defence. The aims of the River Street Waterfront Masterplan in redeveloping the former industrial site are to improve the connectivity of the waterfront for the public, reinstate natural habitats, strengthen resiliency and transform the way people interact with the East River. Anchored by BIG's two
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Berms, breakwaters, marshes and wetlands will improve waterfront resilience / JCFO / BIG courtesy of Two Trees Management
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Mixed-use public park project to improve waterfront resilience in North Brooklyn
Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) have designed a mixed-use development in North Brooklyn that is part-residential, part-public park and part-flood defence.