UNDER THE K BRIDGE PARK
On August 28, 2019, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo opened the new Kosciuszko Bridge and announced an agreement that will lead to the completion of the first and second phases of “Under the K” – a transformative project that will turn nearly seven acres beneath the Kosciuszko Bridge in Brooklyn into a world-class public program space and park. Under the agreement, the New York State Department of Transportation will provide the use of state land to North Brooklyn Parks Alliance – which is leading the design and construction, and will ultimately operate and maintain the space – to allow for the beginning of programming by the summer of 2020. Governor Cuomo also announced that New York State will spend $1 million for paving and prep work, as well as an additional $6 million to fully fund the capital investments planned for phase two of the project.
ABOUT THE PARK
On June 25th, 2019, the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance unveiled plans for a new park in Greenpoint, Brooklyn that will transform nearly seven acres beneath the Kosciuszko Bridge into a publicly accessible open space, cultural destination, and ecological hub. Called “Under the K,” the new public space is designed by PUBLIC WORK, the Toronto-based landscape architecture firm responsible for The Bentway. Similar to Under the K, The Bentway is a vibrant linear public space created below Toronto’s elevated Gardiner Expressway that quickly emerged as a major cultural attraction and iconic park space for the city. Located at the hub of four of diverse and growing neighborhoods, Under the K will help address the serious shortfall of park space per capita in the community, thereby filling a void within the area’s current open space network and stitch together several established yet disparate public spaces.
Envisioned as a collaborative space unlike any other traditional park, Under the K celebrates the resilience of nature and Brooklyn’s diverse community culture. The vision unveiled today balances programming and placemaking, delivering a spectrum of diverse atmospheres and experiences, ranging from immersive ecological landscapes to active, highly flexible multi- pose spaces for recreation and public events. Echoing some of Brooklyn’s most memorable places that emerged organically, informally, even spontaneously, the design anticipates a programmatically diverse space that will evolve over time.
PUBLIC WORK’S DESIGN
Defined by the bridge’s soaring concrete beams that expand from 40-feet-high at the entrance to 120 feet at the waterfront, Under the K is at once a park and a series of massive industrial spaces that create opportunities for cross disciplinary collaborations not possible in other New York City venues. Culminating at the Newtown Creek, Under the K will be among the few public access points to the water’s edge, becoming a platform for environmental initiatives. Other programming will span public art installations, musical performances, and recreation.
The design framework imagines a series of four distinct spaces, articulating the journey from over the Kosciuszko Bridge with its sweeping Manhattan skyline view and climaxing at the Newtown Creek. Upon arrival visitors experience ‘The Arm’ – a linear promenade that receives pedestrians and cyclists from along the bridge, bringing them into the main park spaces through a series of successional planting zones capable of hosting community markets. ‘K-flex 1’ is the first main multifunctional zone, geared to rotating programming, community activities, and play. ‘K-flex 2’ is a massive space with the capacity to host larger scale events, performances and recreation – featuring a striking landform and bleacher for public gatherings. Finally, “Creekside” celebrates its prime position along the water’s edge with public outlooks and seating, and a restorative landscape of native estuary plantings.
– Fall 2017: New York State approaches NBPA as a parks partner to explore potential uses and designs for the space under the new Kosciuszko Bridge.
– Spring 2018: NBPA is awarded a grant from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Benefits Fund (GCEF) toward developing a design to create public open space under the bridge’s Brooklyn side.
– June 25, 2019: NBPA unveils the framework design by PUBLIC WORK.
– Summer 2020: The first phase of the Under the K Bridge Park will open to the public.
THE NEW KOSCIUSZKO BRIDGE
Connecting Brooklyn and Queens, the new Kosciuszko Bridge is the first bridge built in New York City since the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge opened in 1964. Spearheaded by Governor Andrew Cuomo, the completed bridge – including the final Brooklyn-bound span – will be open to vehicular traffic on Thursday, August 29, 2019 (and open to pedestrians and cyclists on August 28th). The first Queens-bound span of the new bridge opened in 2017 and, once fully open to traffic, will serve approximately 200,000 commuters daily. New York State approached the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance in 2017 to explore potential uses for the open space beneath the bridge’s Brooklyn side. With support from the Greenpoint Community Environmental Benefits Fund (GCEF), NBPA engaged Public Work as the project’s design partner and has since hosted several public workshops to inform the design and future programming.
“As our neighborhoods become increasingly dense amid unprecedented development, we all must reimagine the types of spaces that can become open and public,” said Katie Denny Horowitz, Executive Director, North Brooklyn Parks Alliance. “Under the K is a visionary solution to the urban plight of limited space, transforming how cities can and should approach future parks.”
“We founded the North Brooklyn Parks Alliance (formerly OSA) more than 15 years ago for the purpose of expanding and maintaining parks in North Brooklyn,” said Joseph Vance, AIA, NBPA Board Member. “We are absolutely thrilled at the possibility this partnership with New York State Department of Transportation provides to create nearly seven acres of exciting multi-use open space for our neighborhood.”
“Few parks could offer such raw potential for community engagement in activation, recreation, culture, and nature – a testing ground for contemporary expressions of social and ecological transformation.” said Marc Ryan and Adam Nicklin, cofounders of PUBLIC WORK. “Under the ‘K’ dreams of a collaborative space that celebrates the resilience of nature and Brooklyn’s diverse community culture.”
The Under the K Bridge Park is a partnership with NYS Department of Transportation, and the park’s design initiative is made possible with support from Greenpoint Community Environmental Benefits Fund (GCEF).
ABOUT PUBLIC WORK >>
PUBLIC WORK is an urban design and landscape architecture studio focused on one of the foremost public topics today—the intelligent evolution of the contemporary city. Using landscape as their primary medium, they aim to produce transformative works that invigorate the public realm, optimize and enhance the performance of urban and natural systems, and support public life by adding new layers of experience to the city. PUBLIC WORK has emerged as a leading design studio who are innovators of transforming under-utilized terrain into new urban landscapes. They have honed a progressive and resourceful approach to public space design which works selectively with existing conditions to make bold, considered transformations.