The emerging landscapes in Brooklyn’s Industry City include “Vanishing Point,” a 33,000 sf courtyard designed to capture the scale of, and views within, a post-industrial space. Enclosed on three sides by six-story buildings, the west end of the courtyard is open toward the Gowanus Bay, providing sunset views and a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.
The building complex and courtyards are now linked by “Innovation Alley,” a central pedestrian spine. The design concept for Courtyard 3-4 forces the perspective toward the alley. As visitors arrive from the entrance along Second Avenue, the planter walls pull your eye toward the raised intersection at the center of the courtyard. The same play occurs from the east end of the courtyard where the planting design and trees pull toward this center spine in a mirrored perspective. The project budget called for the use of inexpensive materials intended for a five-to-seven year lifespan with the design and construction schedule condensed into just 10 months.
The softness of the ferns and fine texture of the planting palette contrast with the project’s industrial context. The plantings are laid out in directional swaths, and the palette consists of monotone greens to complement the large mass and immensity of the overall space. Columnar maple trees play off of the repetition of the building columns as well as the industrial smoke stacks and ventilation pipe remnants. The trees display beautiful red fall color that will inevitably complement the weathering steel forms in the courtyard.