New York City politician Corey Johnson and the City Council are partnering with architectural non-profit Van Alen Institute for a design competition to “reimagine” the Brooklyn Bridge.
While the open competition is available to everyone those with design and advertising backgrounds are encouraged to submit their proposals by April 5.
The project aims to spark a public conversation about NYC’s iconic structure by seeking creative briefs transforming this space for future usage. The proposed designs should focus on the bridge’s walkway, but can also include recommendations for the bridge’s roadway and nearby public spaces. They need to respect and enhance the bridge’s landmark status, but also think inclusively about mobility and access, and accommodate commuters, visitors, and vendors, per the submission site.
“Everyone agrees the current condition is unsafe for walkers and it doesn’t work well for tourists, bikers, and commuters,” says Deborah Marton, executive director, Van Alen.
She adds while many agree the Bridge needs a makeover, there is not a plan in place at the moment. “We want to expand and reframe the possibilities,” she says.
Marton points out this pitch coincides with a broader transformation for the city as it shifts further away from a vehicle-driven place to more fully embrace mass transit and other non-car alternatives. “This solution fits nicely within the context of this larger challenge,” says Marton. “We have no preconceived ideas about possible designs,” she says. “Good ideas have a way of building momentum.”
Although the Department of Transportation has no clear mandate to incorporate or install these solutions, The Brooklyn Bridge contest will recognize three finalists from a professional category and another batch of three in the under 22 age category. They will be selected by a jury of experts from various fields, ranging from Danny Harris; executive director, Transportation Alternatives and Helen Ho; principal, Karp Strategies to Peg Breen; President, New York Landmarks Conservancy and Regina Myer; President, Downtown Brooklyn Partnership.
These judges will consider the following factors: team composition; accessibility and safety; environmental benefit and security; respect for the bridge’s landmark status; feasibility; and “magic,” such as new ideas that surprise, delight, and fascinate.
These six finalists will have then have around six weeks to refine their proposals based on jury feedback before they present them in mid-July to the jury and members of the public at a public event. Based on those presentations, the two winning designs will be chosen by a combination of jury vote and public vote at the end of the month. More information can be found here.