A controversial new development is slated to replace the Domino sugar factory, which has presided over the waterfront in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, since the mid-1880s. One good that will come of it? A new public park designed to protect the area against climate change while becoming a monument to the area’s manufacturing history.
Fast Company took an exclusive tour of the park recently. It’s designed by the New York-based landscape architecture firm James Corner Field Operations–the same designers behind the High Line–who started working on the Brooklyn park in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. As a result, the park’s design includes many classic resiliency strategies. The designers raised the park’s platform 12 feet higher in some places to guard against floods, and the heavily planted waterfront was designed to act like a sponge. Because the park lines the entire waterfront of the development, it acts as a buffer between the river and the high-rise residential buildings that will go up in the future.
The park also attempts to preserve the site’s industrial past. You can meander between giant tanks that once held syrup and examine towering screw conveyors that moved the sugar along the stages of refinement. Each of the old industrial parts is left in its rusted patina, with scaffolding painted a surprising turquoise blue–a color that was everywhere in the original buildings. The tops of the park benches, still to be installed, will be made of reclaimed wood from the now-demolished raw sugar warehouse. The main attraction? What the designers call the “Artifact Walk,” a raised walkway built on top of old structural columns from the warehouse that offers an elevated platform from which to take in the view.
The park will no doubt be a smash–with the dramatic views of the bridge, the close proximity to the river, and the breathtaking panoramic view of Manhattan. We have an exclusive first look in the slide show above.