Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Brooklyn, NYC plant building images, Greenpoint community New York City photos
Newtown Creek Wastewater, NY : Brooklyn Building
Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant design by Ennead Architects, NYC
Apr 20, 2011
Location: Greenpoint community, Brooklyn, New York City, USA
Area: 53 acres
Dates built: 1991-2014
Design: Ennead Architects
Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn
Located in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint community, Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant is the largest of New York City’s fourteen wastewater treatment plants. The 1991 Master Plan outlines $4.5 billion in new construction over approximately 25 years to replace the existing facilities in order to meet updated water quality standards.
The Design Team, led by Ennead Architects in association with Greeley-Hansen, Hazen & Sawyer and Malcolm Pirnie, an engineering triventure, established a flexible physical and conceptual design and planning framework for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The heart of this framework was the early development and consequent use of a “kit-of-parts”: structures and systems keyed by color, form and material, serving to organize the plant both visually and functionally. This system consists of a palette of durable and corrosion-resistant materials, including stainless steel and glazed ceramic tile. It allows a wide-range of building forms, materials and color, yet organizes the appearance of the site to prevent the visual chaos that often occurs at industrial projects.
While the building materials’ vibrant color palette identifies each part of the plant during the day, a diaphanous veil of blue light visually identifies and unifies the plant at night. The luminous membrane blankets the entire plant, while also serving as a canvas for the bright white lights that define the plant’s various functions.
The most active areas, such as the loading docks, blaze in contrast to the blue monochromatic field. Pedestrian walkways carve bright shimmering lines against a background of forms bathed in blue light. Day or night, the Wastewater Treatment Plant can be seen from multiple boroughs and serves as a beacon in the community.
The need to balance the requirements of a large-scale water treatment plant with the concerns of the surrounding community was critical. The Design Team and the DEP collaborated with community members and public agencies in an ongoing review process to ensure the compatibility of this important project with its neighborhood.
The complex includes a Visitors Center, which opens the plant up to the public, demystifying the process that takes place within. A unique public space, designed by Vito Acconci as part of the NYC Percent for Art program, is the receiving and orientation point for public access to the plant.
In addition to public facilities, the Center also houses displays of the water treatment plant process, an assembly space for presentations and a point from which to view portions of the Main Building where air and electrical power that drive plant processes originate.
The Design Team embraced the community’s desire for waterfront access and, in conjunction with the artist and sculptor George Trakas, designed a waterfront park and promenade at the site, with provisions for extending the concept all along Newtown Creek as the area develops away from strictly industrial use. Like the Visitors Center, Nature Walk was built as part of the NYC Percent for Art program.
The landscape features indigenous trees, shrubs, grasses, wildflowers and boulders that re-imagine this open space as a vibrant intersection, where multiple histories, cultural identities and geologic epochs coexist. Visitors are encouraged to experience the various eras of Newtown Creek, from its inhabitance by the Lenape people before the arrival of Europeans, to the thriving cooperage, ship-making and lumber industries of 18th and 19th century Greenpoint.
Instead of using art to conceal environmental hazards, Nature Walk provides an interpretive frame on its surroundings and invites visitors to experience their industrial waterfront.
The 53 acre site includes a Disinfection Facility, two Control Buildings, three Sedimentation Batteries, three Aeration Batteries, Support Building, Residuals Facility, Centrifuge Building, Solids Handling Facility, and Main Building with Visitors Center, and a public waterfront park. Testifying to the Design Team’s sensitivity to the community and environment, the project has received two awards for Excellence in Design from the New York City Art Commission as well as a Merit Award for Design from the AIA/New York City Chapter.
Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Brooklyn – Building Information
Project Title: Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant
Client: City of New York Department of Environmental Protection
Architect: Ennead Architects
Site area: 53 acres
Gross Floor area: n/a
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Status: estimated completion date 2014
Project start date: 1991
Collaborators: (see below)
Government Agencies: Art Commission of the City of New York New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
Architect: Ennead Architects LLP
Design Partners Richard Olcott FAIA, James Polshek FAIA
Management Partner Timothy Hartung FAIA
Project Team Joanne Sliker AIA, Greg Clawson AIA, Jack Phillips, Peter Mullan
Architects/Engineers of Record: Greeley-Hansen Hazen & Sawyer Malcolm Pirnie
Lighting Design L’Observatoire International
Landscape Quennell Rothschild & Partners
Construction Silverite Construction Co. AJ Pegno & Tully Construction John P. Picone Inc/McCullagh Construction Skanska, Picone, McCullagh, Perini Construction
Percent for Art Artists: Vito Acconci George Trakas
Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant images / information from Ennead Architects
Location: Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant, Brooklyn, New York, 11222, United States
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