Brooklyn, New York, USA
Designed by W Architecture, The Edge Park is located in Brooklyn, New York, where the East River Ferry makes its stop in Williamsburg.
It is part of the Greenpoint-Williamsburg Waterfront Zoning plan that will result in a continuous park along the waterfront. The park connects the community to the waterfront and provides many opportunities for engaging with the river.
The Williamsburg waterfront had been dominated by industry and its relics for over a century– making it largely off limits to the public. New zoning is changing the public interface with the water’s edge by increasing density and emphasizing waterfront access.
The “Edge” park seeks to bring people to the river and link the ecosystem with the fabric of the community.
The new park design won a recent 2020 American Architecture Award from The Chicago Athenaeum.
As landscape architect for both the new residential towers and the public waterfront park, W-Architecture had the challenge of ensuring that the towers act not as symbolic fences blocking public access and views of the East River and Manhattan but as gateways to the river with corridors providing visual connection to the iconic skyline.
W-Architecture’s plan unites both sides of the river by using the piers to re-orient views across especially directed toward the Empire State Building.
The design emphasizes the confrontation of forces at the water edge and encourages public use.
Here, the city grid and the river’s ecosystem converge, mingle, and clash: the road turns into a pedestrian greenway, a garage is surmounted with a sloping lawn, piers reach gently into the water from deep within the park and stone riverbank contrasts with concrete bulkhead. This blurring of the boundaries between land and water extends the waterfront benefits inland to the community.
The synthesis and separation of private and public space, and architecture and ecology required a complex series of collaborations with community groups, the developer, the city government, and engineers.
This former industrial site is now 50% permeable, planted with many native species and part of the LEED Silver rating for the project.
The park was a critical part of the approvals for the project, and maintenance agreements were negotiated with the City Parks Department. The new piers underwent extensive reviews by the Corps of Engineers and the Department of Environmental Protection.
W-Architecture’s Phase 2 additions include three new piers – an East River Ferry pier, the Empire Pier extending towards the Empire State Building, and a sloped pier that takes you down to the high tide elevation. The park offers stunning views of the river and city, seating and spaces for gathering as well as reflection, and is packed with native plants that are full of pollinators.
At the water’s edge, the city grid and the river’s ecosystem converge, mingle, and clash.
The road turns into a pedestrian greenway, a garage is topped with a sloping lawn, piers reach gently into the water from deep within the park, and a stone-lined riverbank contrasts with a concrete bulkhead.
Blurring the boundaries between land and water in these ways extends the waterfront’s benefits inland. This former industrial site is now 50% permeable with many native plant species and is an important part of the LEED Silver rating for the project.
Architects: W Architecture and Landscape Architecture LLC.
Client: Douglaston Development
Photographers: Michael Grimm, Alex Maclean, and Alison Cartwright, W Architecture & Landscape Architecture