2ND PLACE – $800
suckerPUNCH: describe your project.
We see the site as neither a classically green civic space in tradition of Central Park nor a truly wild or natural preserve such as the eight refuges within the Long Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex.* Fort Tilden is not imbued with a remarkable institutional mission (to preserve, to educate or to even stimulate the public) and it is arguably not a natural space infused with a particularly rich natural legacy worthy of significant preservation efforts.
Without discounting the site too much, it is fair to state that its history as a fort, later a coastal artillery installation and finally as Nike Ajax missile site is not exactly ignominious or especially compelling. The site never saw true military action, in the way Pearl Harbor or the Alamo did. Its presence on the eastern seashore does not capture any particular natural or manmade features in the manner of a Cape Cod or a Coney Island . Indeed, it is safe to say that from the air, by land or by sea the site is theoretically a blank canvas, a vacant site- emptied of meaning, use and value. This is a good thing.
Salt Fields and Salt Pyramids
This response to the Fort Tilden Field House competition brief sees the project as instrument for the exploration of the nebulous edge between what is nominally termed landscape urbanism and a more economical means of strategically managing resources by providing a viable, if unusual, means of designing a land-machine for ecological conservation. Our land-machine consists of a series of ocean water intake and irrigation channels, beachwells, water tables or ponds and artificially assembled sand dunes.
The scheme proposes a series of desalination fields powered by a vast solar field mounted on an approximately 225,000 square foot canopy. This energy source, being renewable would thereby eliminate harmful greenhouse gas emissions, a frequent argument against seawater desalination due to the significant energy requirements of the technology. Salt gathered from the desalination process would be stored on the site in the form of a series of pyramidal land forms, available for distribution to greater New York and the Eastern seaboard during the de-icing season, thereby replacing mined salt sources.
Field House = Solar Field Canopy
This proposal envisions a mat-like structure supporting a 225,000 square foot solar canopy. This flying carpet like structure rises above the ground plane to a height of eighty feet over the proposed playing fields.
The flying mat-structure, which is approximately twenty feet thick across its surface, is fully inhabitable. It contains a gymnasium, private viewing boxes for the stadium, a sports bar and restaurant, a café, meeting rooms, locker rooms, an observation deck, a sports lounge and suspending seating above the tennis and basketball courts which are embedded in two 20,000 square foot legs that hold up the entire mat-structure.
From Periphery to Framework
Our architectural and urban landscape strategies aim to move this site from its current status as somewhat peripheral to being something akin to an ecological framework that will help focus and amplify the site’s public role within Long Island and Greater New York’s urban fabric. No longer relegated to its status as an a decommissioned (read: abandoned) military installation, we imagine a renewed role for Fort Tilden as productive landscape- one that is opened and activated by its sports and desalination fields.
*Amagansett National Wildlife Refuge; Conscience Point National Wildlife Refuge; Elizabeth A. Morton National Wildlife Refuge; Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge; Sayville National Wildlife Refuge; Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge; Target Rock National Wildlife Refuge; Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge
sP: what or who influenced this project?
Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates, the Oakland Museum of California, 1966
Paul Rudolph, Burroughs Wellcome Company, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, 1969-1972
Alexander Graham Bell’s Tetrahedral Kite, 1903
sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
The Financial Times
The Essential Thelonius Monk
The Jam, This Is the Modern World (1977)
Yo Gabba Gabba
sP: whose work is on your radar?
z: Bureau des Mésarchitectures
Jose Gonzalez: A very interesting proposal that states a clear position regarding the history of the site. The idea of containing the program in a massive volume and converting the rest of the site into desalination fields that connect it to a greater network of sustainability is pretty bold and thoughtful. It pushes forward the idea of the site as a node within a wider network, as it was during its time as a military base. It has a bit of a perverse twist of displacing that which is the ‘natural’ for a completely machined landscape, although knowing that even that natural setting would be completely artificial.
Abigail Coover: I love how this proposal engages ecological ideas without defaulting to current trends in ecological forms and materials.
Nathan Hume: The scheme is compelling in the planning of the entire site and the hybridization of ecological and geometric concerns. The pyramidal artificial dunes activate the flat site between the road and the ocean while also storing salt from the desalination process and capturing solar energy. The field house has a bold presence across the site and at the points where it lifts off the ground it creates moments which will have stunning views to the water as well as down on the playing fields/courts.