In New York, activists and professionals have been working for many years to try to save 10 decommissioned tanks, from demolition by putting forward alternative usage of these structures. Partnering with STUDIO V, an architectural firm and landscape architects Ken Smith Workshop, they came up with an inventive proposal that reimagines these industrial relics as a 21st-century park, a novelty in the traditional definition and configuration of public spaces.
Because of their cultural and civic value, it was important for the designers to give these storages a public persona and a function that could celebrate their demonstrated typology and their history on Williamsburg’s waterfront in Brooklynn. The initial drawings showcase many different ideas including vertical gardens, performance spaces, oyster hatcheries, art installations, etc. The tanks can house a picnic grove of birch trees and wildflowers, reflecting pools of water with hanging vines, a theater that seats 250, rocky landscapes and adventure playgrounds, and even an Oyster Farm to help regrow the devastated Oyster population in the New York Harbor.
The Tanks at Bushwick Inlet Park capture also the creative aspect of the neighborhoods around it and their booming art scene as well as it values the input of the community and embodies its needs, especially for green public and open spaces. Ten principles were created to make sure the process will go through as imagined with bottom-up approaches, sustainable measures, inclusive, resilient and fast solutions, amongst others.
When dealing with forgotten and unexploited structures, there is no handbook to dictate the proper action to take. Nevertheless, the sustainable method would favor an adaptive approach, where these constructions can be reused and preserved, and where their form can be embraced and not eliminated from the skyline. In fact, rehabilitation can take countless faces, and endless possibilities of programs can be imagined.
A documentary created by PLANE—SITE explains their approach and aims to reach people in order to put a stop to the demolition works planned by the city. An online petition was also created on change.org, with 1000 signatures collected to date.