NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Lorraine Grillo said on Oct. 28 that three DDC projects have been selected by the Public Design Commission (PDC) to receive its Annual Award for Excellence in Design.
This year’s program also features four projects that DDC has initiated within the last five years, which work to bring the city “Toward a Sustainable NYC” by fulfilling the and the goals of OneNYC 2050: Building a Strong and Fair City. Awards during the virtual ceremony will be dedicated to staff, designers and artists that have helped to deliver sustainable infrastructure and public spaces throughout the City.
“We are tremendously appreciative of the Public Design Commission and their recognition of the design that goes into the sustainable infrastructure and buildings DDC creates throughout the city,” Grillo said in a statement. “Twenty PDC awards over five years speak to the dedication of DDC’s world-class in-house teams and industry partners, and I thank them for making this honor possible.”
Four DDC infrastructure and public buildings projects received recognition, including: the addition to the Brooklyn Public Library’s Eastern Parkway Branch Library; the reconstruction of Queens Boulevard between Roosevelt Avenue and Union Turnpike under the City’s Vision Zero “Great Streets” program; the revitalization of Downtown Far Rockaway’s streets and infrastructure in Queens; and the Staten Island 1 & 3 Districts Sanitation Garage.
Three Percent for Art projects were also recognized including: Colorful Companions by Olalekan Jeyifous, slated for the new Brooklyn Animal Care Center;Para Roberto by Melissa Calderon, which was installed at Roberto Clemente Plaza in the Bronx; and the Newtown Creek Nature Walk> by George Trakas in Brooklyn.
2020 award-winning DDC Projects
Brooklyn Public Library’s four-floor Eastern Parkway Branch Library Addition will have new formal and flexible spaces including a mezzanine and rooftop terrace to expand the functionality, programming and range of services of the library to meet the growing needs of the community. The classically detailed Carnegie Library was opened in 1914 and the new design will rehabilitate the civic building to its former beauty.
The project will upgrade materials and finishes and the HVAC system to enhance the air quality and help aid the preservation of artifacts and printed materials. Designed for efficiency and longevity, there will be ample daylight through large glass windows, a green roof and adaptive building systems, all leading to reduced energy usage. DDC is managing the project, which was designed by Allied Works, for Brooklyn Public Library.
Colorful Companions by artist Olalekan Jeyifous will feature the playful relationship between pets and their owners at several locations of the interior and exterior of the new Brooklyn Animal Care Center. Jeyifous’ utilizes vibrant colors to create a visually compelling experience that is intended to draw visitors into the site and encourage pet adoption.
The artwork on the exterior façade features vivid primary colors on aluminum panels whereas the artwork in the interior features a two-color palette of cool blue and green tones on translucent film to subtly complement wayfinding and the graphics of the Center’s brand. Artwork located in the lobby is applied between glass panels to separate the intake and adoption entryways and have a vision control film that creates an opaque surface when viewed straightforward and a translucent surface when viewed at an angle to balance privacy for visitors and visibility for staff.
DDC will begin constructing the center in 2021, which is funded by the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and designed by Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects.
Para Roberto by artist Melissa Calderón is a Percent for Art project that pays tribute to the late Puerto Rican professional baseball player Roberto Clemente (1934-1972) and was installed in October 2019 at Roberto Clemente Plaza in the Bronx. Calderón, a Bronx native, says the installation honors Clemente’s “remarkable life, his humanitarian legacy, his perseverance and his dedication to working with kids to help realize their own dreams.”
Calderón’s cast bronze sculpture features an empty “Abuelo” (“grandfather” in Spanish) chair. A dozen 12.5-foot sugarcane stalks surround the chair, signifying the hardships his family faced while working in the sugarcane fields and also his 12 Golden Glove Awards. The sculpture sits on a concrete base featuring oyster shells and seashells to resemble a mixture of aggregate sidewalk from the 70’s and beaches in Clemente’s home country. A behind-the-scenes video shows the making of the sculpture at the Polich Tallix Foundry.
DDC completed the reconstruction of the Plaza in October 2018, which was funded by DOT and designed by Garrison Architects.
Toward a sustainable NYC: Five years of design
The Vision Zero ‘Great Streets’ redesign of Queens Boulevard stretches five miles from Roosevelt Avenue to Union Turnpike and will calm traffic by widening the service road and provide a raised bike path, pedestrian walkways and broad, tree-filled medians with landscaping, bicycle racks and seating areas. The bus stops will be relocated to the new widened service road medians to provide more generous circulation areas for passenger pickup and drop-off.
The project will transform a hazardous, vehicular-oriented corridor into a thriving multimodal connector near cultural institutions, shopping centers, four major highways, ten subway stations and over a dozen bus lines. DDC is managing the project, which was designed by AECOM and NV5, for the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT).
DDC partnered with DOT and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation to complete the Downtown Far Rockaway Streetscape. Covering the areas around Central Avenue, Mott Avenue, Beach 19th Street, Beach 20th Street, Beach 21st Street and Beach 22nd Street, it signifies a focus on environmental sustainability and resiliency in the wake of extreme weather events. The overarching goals of the design are to reinforce Mott Avenue as a ‘village main street’ that connects to existing neighborhood assets and recent public improvement projects, such as the new Far Rockaway Library.
Incorporating various Vision Zero strategies, the design features a more inviting pedestrian experience and employs sustainable, energy-efficient and visually appealing elements such as varied street trees with connected tree beds and permeable pavers. The scope includes the full reconstruction of streets and sidewalks, a new plaza, public open spaces, wayfinding signs and the installation of new storm and sanitary sewers throughout the area. The project was designed by DDC’s in-house team in conjunction with W Architecture & Landscape Architecture.
The Newtown Creek Nature Walk, a Perfect for Art project in Greenpoint, Brooklyn was designed by environmental sculpture artist George Trakas and landscape architect Quennell Rothschild & Partners to provide green waterfront access from Kingsland Avenue or Paige Avenue near the NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s 53-acre Newtown Creek Wastewater Resource Recovery Facility.
As part of the Walk, which will be completed in spring 2021, three 60-foot-long bow-shaped vessels made of galvanized steel with connecting ramps, bridges and a central “turret” seating area will be constructed to connect the existing Nature Walk to the opposite, eastern side of Whale Creek. There, a 430-foot-long area will be landscaped with street trees, shaded stone seating benches, bicycle racks, a water fountain, several rain gardens and five 380 million-year-old boulder-sized tree fossils that were found near the City’s upstate Schoharie Reservoir.