On view till 27 September 2008 at the Center for Architecture in New York are select entries from the South Street Seaport - Re-envisioning the Urban Edge competition. Unfortunately, no images are provided.
Thankfully, N.E.E.D., whose entry was awarded First Place, provided us with images of their winning proposal: “an aquaculture-driven floating park, inlaid with combinational modules of public indoor programs.”
“South Street Seaport,” writes N.E.E.D., “has always been closely connected with infrastructural industry of the city. Being a port and a market for fish, it actively switched its urban structure according to development of transportation modes and storing methods of goods. To continue this historical trajectory of being a highly responsive urban district, the project proposes a fish farm(works), where the future of aquaculture actuates the next transformation phase of the area.”
But fish grown in the waters of New York City? Somehow locavores might still prefer frozen fish trucked in from afar over fresh ones from the East River. There is a “sustainable water purification system,” though the way the project statement reads, one is made to think that this is for cleaning water that has been contaminated by this near-shore aquaculture and not to sanitize river water for use in the farm.
Nevertheless, as with any ideas, this shortcoming can easily be resolved with further development.
One wishes here, though, that the spongy, osseous kelp forest underneath was extended above the water line: a spongy, osseous rain forest within which fishes swarm. New York's new skyscraper-aquariums.
Still, we do like the idea of extending the territory of Manhattan, a phenomenon not without historical precedence. You could even push the entire edge all the way out with these “half-submered pontoons,” thus stitching the island and the other boroughs together.
While everyone above enjoys the floating park and its many programmed cabinets de verdure, and amidst hilarious territorial disputes over, say, where Manhattan begins and Brooklyn begins (or vice versa), an aquatic eco-machine purifies the water below to a level that 1) eating its locally grown fish will not physically and psychologically repulse people; 2) urban agriculture moves away from the grotesquely expensive real estate of Manhattan into the less(?) expensive real estate of the tidal estuary; and 3) when there's an architecture biennale/festival in the city, someone will stage The Continuous (Sushi) Picnic.
Of course, you could also implement these designs to waterfronts elsewhere.