Situated near the entrance to the Gowanus Canal, formerly the site of a police impound lot, the 11-acre pier will house a new 125,500 sqf facility for recycling and education. Designed by Selldorf Architects, the Sunset Park Materials Recycling Facility was not just conceived as a facility for recycling, but also as an active classroom. The approximate 2.5 acres of green space, complete with grazing goats, 50,000 sqf of photovoltaic cells and hopeful wind turbine, will offer an observation corridor and educational classrooms for students. The site is currently being raised four feet by construction crews and a completion date of December 2011 is anticipated.
A collaboration with a public-private client partnership of Sims Metal Management and the City of New York, the Sunset Park Materials Recycling Facility is planned for the 30th Street Pier in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park. The site is in Gowanus Bay, near the entrance to the Gowanus Canal and is bound on three sides by water and on the fourth side by the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal.
The 125,500 square foot facility is conceived as a naturally vegetated peninsula with space carved out for the buildings and waterfront operations. The program includes a visitors’ center and administration building, an enclosed barge unloading facility, and a materials-handling building for processing and storage of recyclable plastic, metal and glass. The visitors’ center and administration building includes an exhibition space, classrooms, cafeteria, offices and locker rooms, and is linked to observation areas in the recycling building via a pedestrian bridge.
Working within the constraints of a pre-engineered building, one of the design challenges was to find ways to articulate the program and give an overall expression to the facility that would distinguish it from the ordinary big box construction. The tipping building where materials arrive via barge or truck, has a fully exposed main frame structure made from galvanized steel to withstand the elements. The adjacent processing and bale storage buildings are clad in corrugated metal which also wraps around the tipping building at the upper level. All the buildings sit on a unifying concrete plinth. The design incorporates many sustainable initiatives including solar panels, stormwater collection, bioswales and a wind-turbine generating electrical power.