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Gowanus Canal Filter District

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For the development potential of the Gowanus Canal to be fully realized, remediation must be incorporated synergistically with development plans. The Gowanus Canal Filter District looks to jump-start this mode of development at the heart of the Canal by actively engaging the hydrological conditions of the canal itself in addition to the development possibility it affords. conn


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Centrally located, the Filter District serves as an eastwest connector between the communities of Carroll Gardens and Park Slope in Brooklyn, while aiding in the north-south land use transition from mixed use residential to industrial.



high tide low tide SDA

The formal operations are simple: depress areas adjacent to the canal to promote tidal flushing while pushing architectural program up at the streets.

perforated canal wall

high tide


slope stabilization/plant protection (surface application in remediation zones)

prevention of particle migration retention/control of subsurface water flow


The existing conditions of many parcels within the site consist of asphalt or concrete pavement, contributing to the excessive stormwater and CSO problem that has plaguing the canal for generations.

soil retention/reinforcement (subsurface application in recreational zones)


The initial phase of the site development consists of the removal of soil adjacent to the canal and the installation of the SUBSURFACE DESIGN ARMATURE. This adjustable armature can facilitate soil retention, erosion control and water percolation depending on its installation. The excavated soil will be used on site for the construction of landforms and other development program


By strategically puncturing the piling along the canal, tidal flushed can extend beyond the wall into the site while still providing protection for barges and ships that continue to use the canal for industrial or recreational purposes.

low tide


The new protected tidal wetlands will foster remediation of the canal water through both phytoremediative plants and infiltration. These wetlands will additionally provide treatment of stormwater runoff, thus reducing the frequency of combined sewer overflow events.

landform/circulation studies



SUBSURFACE DESIGN ARMATURE (SDA) As a way of addressing the design problem from multiple angles, the creation of the Filter District takes advantage of what we call a SUBSURFACE DESIGN ARMATURE. This device allows for the structuring of the landscape from the inside out through ranging performance characteristics. A wide array of programmatic and performative functions are possible through the modification of the SDA texture and permeability (altered by stretching it on-site) or by its placement depth in the soil. This massproduced and site-modified system provides robustness when dealing with unknown site conditions and standard contractors while still allowing for a very ride range of design performance variability. development

remediation zone

recreation zone


The Filter District is organized with constructed mixed-use residential program along Smith Street and 3rd Avenue, leaving a green core to serve the purposes of recreations and water treatment. This green core is easily accessible to public, and its function as a connector will aid in resident safety and its continued maintenance.

looking east from new bridge over 4th street basin

view over SDA toward perforated canal wall


Gowanus Lowline  

Gowanus Lowline Competition. Honorable Mention. Completed with Sean Burkholder of Penn State.

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