Seiwooo Mannisi Alban - Grand Army Plaza
Firm: Seiwooo - Mannisi Alban
Location:Grand Army Plaza, Brooklyn, USA
DROP BY DROP
Grand Army Plaza is a gate but also a big knot of Brooklyn avenues, a kind of airlock between city and park, between rush and wander.
Initially named Prospect Park Plaza; this huge gateway enable us to reach Frederick Law Olmsted’s dream: a Paradise of peacefulness.
Today, what kind of Paradise Grand Army Plaza project attempts to regain?
“How meanly and grossly do we deal with nature!, wrote Henry David Thoreau, Could we not have a less gross labor? What else do these fine inventions suggest, — magnetism, the daguerreotype, electricity? Can we not do more than cut and trim the forest — can we not assist in its interior economy, in the circulation of the sap?
Now we work superficially and violently. We do not suspect how much might be done to improve our relation to animated nature even; what kindness and refined courtesy there might be.”
Paradise (to be) Regained
New Grand Army Plaza might assist in the “circulation of the sap” of Brooklyn, in its “interior economy”.
New York, Central Park, Other side, Brooklyn, Prospect Park, other horizons... In the heart of a vaporous drop resulting from Manhattan, we remembered, vaguely, last being close to a park... Today an arena, ducted rises the canopys translucent ones. Overhanging a place with the paces of vast forest terrace…Same one ?
New York. Cars. By thousands. They slip, thread, at any speed or slowly, decide to sink or to agree a pause. Freeze frame. Doors open...
REDEVELOPPEMENT OF THE TRAFFIC
Arcades make it possible to the pedestrians to easily reach, of everywhere, in the heart of the place, from now on encircled stores, terraces, coffees, cultural activities in any kind. Daring modifications decorate the place of which they redraw the functions. A very strong feeling emerges: to be in the heart of a historical space. The monuments, the context, the urban situation even appear more readable than they never were it: the curves of the automobile ways, on several floors, which surround the place, meet, cross, intertwine until marrying perfectly the existing buildings, drawn in rotunda. Urban traffic and form agree. With new. Heritage received five out of five. Olmsted is back.
PENETRATION OF THE PARK
The children play, without null concern, as at the time of the creation of the place, in 1867. With-inside oval, the absence of circulation returns the obvious and fluid access to the park. Place and park are closely connected in a common urban program. Perfectly oval and seizable, the limits of the park and the place, however, merge, are reinforced, "are woven" mutually. Their porosities offer a plentiful spectacle: city and forest attract themselves, are answered and seem to dance. Almost madly. Urban dawdlings, windows, terrace, spectacles, feeling to be here, some share, located. Not stop, home port: it is then, then only, which the proximity of Manhattan/Central Park, with a few kilometers at the end of the lanes which carry out here, appears, grows. Canopes/canopées which protects the place, create an envelope, giantess, protective, immense drop of fog, vaporous and light, which surprisingly evokes the vision of the streaming from Manhattan. New York, dilated, runs, drop by drop...
Preserved, reinforced, deployed, the road traffics give again place in the place, its "space reason". Such flow of a sand glass, to be "here" brings us inevitably "there low", to project us towards this other termination of this same lane which emerges here. Other side thus, towards this other park of exubérance new yorkais, Central Park, another "GAP". Between the réceptacles/vases, motorway space vibrates, quivers, and unfolds its tentacles. Think among other dreams. Floating, become to be to it dream in this fog, between Prospective customer and Manhattan, drop among drop, spouted out of this fabulous envelope of fog and glass dilated and yet attached has this Brooklyn from which we feel well how much it benefits from this jewel decorating its own history. Much of anybody walks there like us, the cross-piece, are mislaid there and discovering new turnings.
Decided to return, we leave what leaves us the impression of one scintillating urban place. Vaporous cooling. Multiple signs which draw a space of lives without excluding. To have been extracted from this motorway diagram, the place completely adapted Brooklyn but more still Manhattan which does not delay ran along the vein to connect the two centers. We will return. Sunday. And other days. And the evening. And the night. Restaurants, shoppings, coffees and crowd will revive us and will charm us, before our feet again press soft and tender modelled park of this dear old Frederick Law Olmsted...
Courtesy of Seiwooo Architects