The vision of W Architecture and Landscape Architecture (also known for the West Harlem Piers Park), was to create places of interaction that form a lasting connection between people and their environments. The Edge Park emphasizes the confrontation of forces at the water’s 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 into the community. The various seating areas within the park are positioned as if they have been scattered by the river’s current. The central seating area directs the entire park towards the stunning view of the Empire State Building.
Not only is The Edge Park LEED silver certified, maximizing opportunities to utilize green practices, the design approaches the lasting sustainability that will improve the environment into the future. The new parkincreases site permeability by more than 50% greatly improving stormwater management. This was achieved through several dramatic substitutions of planted areas for hard surfaces. Much of the park serves as a planted roof for an undetectable parking garage situated below its lawns. Additionally, the hard division between the site and the water was replaced with a natural rock edge and the paved street was converted to permeable grass. The increased planted areas are populated with native species that require minimal watering and maintenance reducing the resources for years to come.
The Edge Park is a new center for Williamsburg, bringing all members of this diverse community back to the waterfront. The Edge Park is very active on the weekends with the Brooklyn Flea on the adjacent lot. Additionally, the park is a new stop for Manhattan’s newest innovative transportation infrastructure, the East River Ferry. W is also currently developing the pier at the neighboring India Street stop in Greenpoint.Ms Wilks describes W’s participation in the development of New York’s waterfront, “We are working to support Mayor Bloomberg’s bold image of the water as the ‘sixth borough’, helping to make the waterfront more accessible and vibrant.”