Tonight at Brooklyn's SET Gallery, the entries in the recent Gowanus By Design project will go on display. The project was a competition that asked entrants to reimagine the Gowanus Canal area and speculate about "the value of urban development of postindustrial urban lands." Translation: What do you with something ugly? Can you make it not ugly?
Naturally, a super group emerged to tackle this question, a super group with Babak Bryan, the man behind City Guide's Look Up column and also this memorable post-Irene design. COA, comprised of Bryan, Jake LaChapelle, Newt Kershner, and Henry Grosman, created a design that considers the positive effects of pollution on the canal:
"A new plant species whose natural biological processes could clean the water were introduced to the canal. The technology was known as phytoremediation." This creates a cluster of super plants (the bioPLURB) that turn the canal into a playground.
"No longer functioning in its former role, the bioPLURB has become an amenity in the canal and the surrounding neighborhood. Swimmers climb its stalks and dive off into the clean water. Its branches have infiltrated local architecture creating transient spaces. Larger root-balls straddle the canal creating new and unplanned crossings. The bioPLURB has given a new identity to Gowanus. Its bioluminescence illuminates the canal at night. The locals swim at all hours under its soft glow. By reference to Coney Island, they call their night activity, 'Electric Swimming.'"
The super group's design, along with heaps of other designs, each taking wildy different approaches to the Canal, will be on display at SET until October 1.
Check out the images for glimpses into the other designs.