Back in March, the Valen Alen Institute announced Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge in collaboration with the New York City Council, a call-for-entry from both young adults and professionals to reimagine the Brooklyn Bridge's main promenade. A walk down the promenade is typically a not-so-socially-distant experience, so designers were asked to redesign the walkway for a post-COVID society. Finalists were chosen by the jury based on the criteria of accessibility and safety, environmental benefit and security, acknowledgment of the bridge's landmark status, feasibility, and team composition.
As mentioned in Val Alen's press release, "The Brooklyn Bridge has the potential to serve as a testing ground for designs that serve our communities in need — not just in an imagined, idealistic future — but now. With these considerations at heart, the six finalist proposals are a compelling and optimistic set of ideas for responsive short-term interventions and longer-term, large-scale reconfigurations of the Brooklyn Bridge."
Since call for entries closed and entries have been reviewed, judges have selected 3 finalists in the professional category and 3 in the student category.
Thursday, July 21st, will mark the day judging and public voting for winners begins, starting with presentations by all the finalists from 6:00-8:00 PM EST the public can join via Zoom. Participants in the public as well as the jury are invited to offer feedback and criticism to the teams during this time.
Voting will remain open from July 23-30, with winners announced later this summer.
Curious about the finalists? Check them out in full here:
Back to the Future, BIG + ARUP
Back to the Future, BIG + ARUP (New York)
"Back to the Future seeks to return the bridge to its original state, both architecturally and functionally, and pilots innovations in autonomous mobility and public space design. By removing cars and related ramps, and providing more space for pedestrians, bikes and transit, this proposal moves more people and creates a stronger connection between Downtown Brooklyn, Lower Manhattan, and beyond."
Bridge X, ScenesLab + Minzi Long + Andrew Nash
Bridge X, ScenesLab + Minzi Long + Andrew Nash (New York, Boston, and Vienna)
"Bridge X proposes a Brooklyn Bridge that evolves in response to public feedback and adapts from a pandemic to a post-pandemic era. Through a phased approach, Bridge X reimagines the upper and lower decks to reclaim space for greater pedestrian and cyclist access, to make room for vendors and small businesses, and to offer new modes of engagement with the bridge. Digital tools and design interventions enable visitors to more easily access, explore, and reflect on their experiences of the bridge."
Brooklyn Bridge Forest, Pilot Projects Design Collective, Cities4Forests, Wildlife Conservation Society, Grimshaw and Silman
Brooklyn Bridge Forest, Pilot Projects Design Collective, Cities4Forests, Wildlife Conservation Society, Grimshaw and Silman (New York and Montreal)
"Brooklyn Bridge Forest reimagines the bridge as an icon of climate action and social equity, improving mobility while respecting the landmark structure. The historic wooden walkway is expanded using planks sustainably sourced from a "partner forest" community in Guatemala that protects a 200,000-acre rainforest. A dedicated bike path and reclaimed traffic lane create new space for cyclists and low-carbon transit, while biodiverse "microforests" at either end of the bridge bring nature to New York City and serve as green spaces for underserved communities."
Young Adult Finalists
The Artery, Lukas Kugler
The Artery, Lukas Kugler (New Milford, CT)
"With sensitivity to different user groups, The Artery creates a contiguous modern transportation corridor between boroughs. On the bridge, the design incorporates designated spaces for vendors and three separate pathways for cyclists, runners, and pedestrians. The substantial incorporation of greenery provides natural borders between these paths, creating an improved experience while encouraging native plants and wildlife to inhabit the bridge."
The Cultural Current, Aubrey Bader and Maggie Redding
The Cultural Current, Aubrey Bader and Maggie Redding (Knoxville, TN)
"Using a brightly colored path and cultural markers, The Cultural Current proposes a fluid integration of surrounding neighborhoods into a transportation and public space network that crosses the bridge. The proposal uses color in a playful way that's also helpful for wayfinding, reuses existing wood boards and recycled plastic, and plans to phase car traffic off the lower roadway."
Do Look Down, Shannon Hui, Kwans Kim, and Yujin Kim
Do Look Down, Shannon Hui, Kwans Kim, and Yujin Kim (Hong Kong, Bay Area, CA, and New York)
"Do Look Down's installation of a glass surface above the bridge's girders creates a whimsical new pedestrian space activated through art installations and seasonal programming. The lower roadway is converted into additional walkable and human-powered transport space that also offers opportunities for local vendors and performers. Powered by kinetic paving, an LED and projection system is mobilized to honor the city's cultures, histories, and identities."
Don't forget to vote between July 23-30 for your favorite finalists and register for Reimagining Brooklyn Bridge's virtual Design Showdown July 23 from 6:00-8:00 PM via Zoom.