Yesterday, we took a look at the grand prize winner of New York City’s Terreform One competition. While the winning design was certainly interesting, it was by no means the only noteworthy entry. Personally, I think that the runner up design is much more viable.
Designed by Russell Greenberg, Christopher Beardsley, and Joseph Corsi, their Walk On Water (WOW) idea takes a very realistic approach to the concept of water as the sixth borough. These designers envision a future wherein New York citizens feel anxiety towards the waterways surrounding the city, as rising water levels will encroach upon the land and threaten buildings.
To counter these negative feelings, the designers wanted to create an area in New York that would invite citizens to accept the inevitable transition from terrestrial to aquatic life. To achieve that end, they imagined a floating community between Brooklyn and Manhattan along the East River that will be just as useful as any other New York borough.
The name might be a bit deceiving, because the features of this community wouldn’t actually require people to get wet at all, so you wouldn’t have to worry about swimming on the daily commute. Instead, the basic skeletal structure of WOW relies on a series of flexible bridge-like roads that span across the river. These roads, which could accommodate cars or pedestrians, would act as anchors for the myriad of stores, restaurants, and gardens. These designers intend for WOW to be much more than a novelty expansion for businesses; they see at as an actual, full-blown neighborhood community. They included spaces for private residences, apartments, and even schools.
What I like most about WOW is that the designers enabled it to be just as accessible for boats as would be for pedestrians. A series of dock-like access points would allow anyone with a motoboat, sailboat, or barge to unload passengers or cargo. Whereas taxis might be the fastest means of travel in the heart of the city, small ferries would probably be the best way to get around in Walk On Water.
Admittedly, their design isn’t quite as beautiful as Parallel Networks, but you have to acknowledge that their more practical approach resulted in an aquatic neighborhood that could conceivably exist in the waterways of New York.