Brooklyn Naval Cemetery Landscape creates an experience of a layered landscape

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The Brooklyn Naval Cemetery Landscape creates an experience of landscape and planted form that offers retreat, remembrance, and engaged observation while honoring a layered, 200 year history. The site is an unmarked burial ground from the late 19th and early 20th centuries at the Brooklyn Navy Yard complex and now the first open space node along the Brooklyn Greenway. A memorial meadow and sacred grove are framed by an undulating boardwalk lifted above the undisturbed ground.

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A precast diamond pier foundation system was utilized to support the framework. This system was developed to limit disturbance to no more than 4” below finish grade, a requirement based on the sensitive nature of the former burial site. Limited excavation and construction activity has created an ideally undisturbed site for the seeding of the native meadow. Seeded with more than 50 meadow species, the plantings focus on establishment of much needed native plant fodder for the many forgotten pollinators critical to ecological health of the region, including butterflies, honey bees, and pollinator moths.

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This immersive experience engages the public in the importance of pollinator habitat in the urban environment while symbolically attracting many forms of life to a place that has historically commemorated death. Initially planted in a strict geometric pattern, the plantings will eventually drift across the site, creating new patterns and establishing a self-sustaining, ‘open-ended’ ecology.

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Brooklyn Naval Cemetery Landscape

Landscape Architect | Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects (Design Lead) / Design Lead Team: Thomas Woltz, Jeffrey Longhenry, John Ridenour, Maggie Hanson
Architect | Marvel Architects
Contractor | Kelco Construction Company

Image credit info | All images and artwork should be credited to Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects

About Damian Holmes 3231 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at