• lavender lake art factory

    lavender lake art factory
    brooklyn NEW YORK

    registraion begins 6.22.09

    subissions due 9.28.09

    awards: US $2000 total and publication on suckerPUNCH


    [TOP 20 ON FLICKR]


    perfectly situated but notoriously maligned, the gowanus canal borders the vibrant brooklyn neighborhoods of red hook, park slope, and carroll gardens. as a result of heavy industrial pollution, the canal took on an iridescent purple sheen gaining it the nickname “lavender lake.” The canal, active since the seventeenth century, served as a hub for barge reliant manufacturing. during the beginning of the twentieth century, the canal emerged as the busiest commercial waterway in the united states due to its fortuitous proximity to manhattan. Over the last 150 years the canal has collected sewage, storm water, pollutants, fuel oil, and scrap metal making it a highly toxic body of water. Most industry abandoned the area in the late 1950’s leaving the polluted canal lined with derelict warehouses and scrap heaps. at the end of several dead end streets, the canal also became a popular dumping ground for illicit waste and bodies. The last few years has seen renewed interest in reviving the area and dredging the canal as the bordering neighborhoods have filled and now bustle with activity. gowanus has seen a rise in action over the past twelve months with the opening of bars [bar tano], music venues [the bell house], outdoor event spaces [the yard] and artists studios [brooklyn artist gym and the sweater factory].


    this currently vacant site is comprised of 230,000sf on the corners of smith and fifth streets in brooklyn. the site is bordered by the gowanus canal to the east, a privately owned building to the south, smith street to the west, and 5th street to the north. in 1975 the site was taken over by the city and deemed a “public placeā€ site. the idea was for it to be used as a public recreation site, but it has been sitting behind locked gates ever since. the pollution on this particular parcel of land is a result of coal gas manufacturing. key span is responsible for the environmental cleanup of the site and the remediated land is to be turned over to the city. as a valuable property sandwiched between brooklyn’s most desirable neighborhoods, developers continue to struggle to gain control of the site while key span and the city drag their feet and fight it out at city council meetings. the slightly undulating ground plane is currently covered with a sea of unruly leafy greens that flow down to the glittering purple water of the canal. zoning allows for the site to build up to 12 stories allowing for a myriad of possibilities from mat building to mid-rise tower. the f and g subway lines are elevated 100′ above the site with a stop two blocks away. smith street is a lively strip containing restaurants, boutiques, and bars serving carroll gardens. there are also new superstores such as lowe’s, ikea, and whole foods within walking distance.


    as the epa and new york city wrestle over whether or not gowanus will be designated as a superfund site, this competition proposes a new artists factory for the “public place” site. The proposal will be designed to both foster creative production and attract visitors to the factory and neighborhood. the factory will contain private/shared art studios, a storefront gallery/bar, analog/digital shops, and live/work spaces for rotating artists in residence. both the interior and exterior realizations of the project should rethink the white boxes of modern art work and display spaces and conceive of a sequence of spaces that address the diversity of contemporary art and design at multiple scales. open spaces and natural light are key components of all programmatic areas. The gallery will display work produced by the resident artists and have openings/events on a weekly basis. The bar will be used to serve these events and also function as a local hangout. The bar/gallery should be designed to accommodate large crowds while at the same time cultivating intimate spaces to be used simultaneously or on non-event evenings. The storefront nature of the bar/gallery should be highly atmospheric and curated in a manner to create a significant street presence on smith street. artists in residence will rotate on a six month cycle and will be selected based on progressive work at the forefront of art and design at any given moment. as a transient resident, their live/work spaces will require work, living and sleeping spaces as well as a bathroom and a kitchen. the space will also be fully furnished in a manner to facilitate multiple lifestyles as well as to stimulate work flow. These should be unique spaces displaying current forms and technology available in the architectural world as a means of inspiration for the visiting artists. as a “public place” site, the original goal of the site was to serve as a public space for the community. this should remain a requirement in the careful design and consideration of the outdoor space of the site as an additional programmatic piece of the project. it should be assumed that the environmental remediation of the site will be completed by key span prior to the start of construction. in addition to the significant street presence of the site, the entire project also has the unique position of being viewed from the elevated subway line bordering the site. this subway line serves thousands of passengers per day traveling between the affluent neighborhoods of park slope and carroll gardens. from this vantage point, the entire building can be viewed and act as an advertisement. the factory should exploit this condition by employing compelling facade, roof, and overall forms which can be visually arresting from the street as well as the air.


    10.000sf analog shop [wood/metal]

    5.000sf digital fabrication shop [cnc mill/plasma cutter/plastic printer/thermoformer]

    10.000sf gallery/bar

    5.000sf private artist studios

    10.000sf shared artist studios

    5.000sf offices/admin

    1.800sf ten [10] live/work artist studios – 18.000sf total

    exterior space at the discretion of the entrant


    abigail COOVER (hume coover studio, suckerPUNCH)
    nathan HUME (hume coover studio, suckerPUNCH)
    mike SZIVOS (SOFTlab)
    jose GONZALEZ (SOFTlab)
    armand GRAHAM (asymptote),
    serra KIZILTAN (gage clemenceau architects)
    philip MANA (studio daniel libeskind)

    prizes: US $2000 total and winning entries will be published on suckerPUNCH.


    this is an open competition. entrants will be required to digitally submit two [2] boards at 18″x24″ and 150dpi in tiff format with the provided 5 digit code in a 1″x1″ square in the lower right hand corner of each board. image requirements are as follows:


    all necessary floor plans to describe the project including at the minimum a ground level plan describing the form, integration of program and relationship to gowanus

    *scale is at the discretion of the entrant


    one [1] north/south section

    one [1] east/west section

    *scale is at the discretion of the entrant


    one [1] aerial/subway view

    one [1] street view

    one [1] interior view of bar/gallery

    one [1] interior view of artist residence

    *one rendering best describing the formal and atmospheric intent of the project must be rendered at 10″x13″ and 150dpi in tiff format


    22 june 2009 competition launch

    03 august 2009 deadline for questions

    01 august 2009 deadline for early registration

    04 august 2009 answers to questions will be posted on suckerPUNCH

    21 september 2009 late registration deadline

    28 september 2009 project submission deadline

    12 october 2009 winners will be posted on suckerPUNCH