Van Alen Institute announces Brooklyn Bridge contest results

26 August 2020
Credit: Pilot Projects Design Collective
  • Pilot Projects Design Collective
  • Pilot Projects Design Collective



New York, NY

United States

Winning design connects New York City with global environment

The Van Alen Institute has announced the result of the competition to re-imagine one of New York’s most recognisable landmarks, the Brooklyn Bridge. The winning design, called Brooklyn Forest, builds on the idea of a local bridge that, through its creation, connects people from across the world. The make-up of the winning team reflects the theme, consisting of individuals with a wide range of experience in different disciplines from Pilot Projects Design Collective, Grimshaw Architects, Cities4Forests, Wildlife Conservation Society, Silman and the Natural Areas Conservancy.

Brooklyn Bridge Forest re-imagines the bridge as an icon of climate action and social equity, improving mobility while respecting the landmark structure. On the local level, a dedicated bike path and reclaimed traffic lane create new space for cyclists and low-carbon transit, while biodiverse ‘microforests’ at either end of the bridge bring nature to New York City and serve as green spaces for underserved communities.

Looking further afield, the historic wooden walkway is expanded using 11,000 planks sustainably sourced from a proposed “partner forest” community in Guatemala that stewards a 200,000-acre rainforest. Each plank is sponsored by an individual who wishes to support the bridge project, with their name etched into a plank for the duration of its use. The wood is expected to last for more than three decades, supporting multiple generations of visitors without using harmful chemicals and requiring little maintenance.

The substantial financial endowment created through sponsorship will provide the Guatemalan community with the resources they need to patrol and protect their forest, while supporting further scientific research on the sustainable uses of tropical hardwood. The designers state: “The Brooklyn Bridge Forest project is designed to make vital connections between individuals around the world; between a bridge under our feet and a faraway forest; between New York City and the global environment.”

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

This competition was first published by TenderStream on 12.02.2020 here

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