Friday, November 03, 2006

Red Hook's Revere Sugar As Brooklyn's Landschaftspark


Landschaftspark photo above courtesy of Bruno Rodrigues/flickr

Landschaftspark? Huh? GL going off on another crazy tangent? Bear with us for a moment.

The photo essay that B61 Productions posted yesterday on Red Hook noted that demolition trucks had been spotted on the Revere Sugar property. Thor Equities (yes, the same Thor Equities that is going to build a huge project in Coney Island) bought the property--which features that iconic dome and spectacular industrial ruins--for $40.5 million last year and aims to turn it into some sort of retail and residential complex. The property's fate is more or less sealed (attention Ikea shoppers, get your Legal Seafoods next door) if Thor gets the zoning changes and approvals it needs.

Before you accuse of being anti-change and pro-rot, consider the case of Landschaftspark in Duisburg, Germany. It's a former industrial wasteland (a couple of photos below) that the Germans transformed into a wildly popular park and tourist destination. Duisburg is in the Ruhr near Dusseldorf. It features acres of natural greenery. The old factory buildings house musical performances and art exhibits. Former ore silos have rock climbing walls. There's an old blast furnace that's been turned into an observation deck and more. At night, the old industrial structures are bathed in colored light.

The Brooklyn waterfront is rapidly being overwhelmed by a sterile, pedestrian version of the future in which everything is clean and new and tending toward the suburban. Approached creatively, though, the Revere site would be a natural for the Duisburg treatment on a smaller scale. One can easily see it the Revere plant shored up and adaptively reused to serve as a tourist attraction, performance space, industrial museum, waterfront attraction and more. Which is not to say that this is what will happen. Our favorite Red Hook icon seems fated to be demolished like the shipyard next door and to live on only in the images taken by all of us who shoot a lot of pictures of structures we know are doomed.

The Landschaftspark is by no means the only such conversion of an industrial facility or parcel into an attraction. Other examples include the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam, which includes everything from restaurants and clubs to art galleries and playgrounds, and the BP Site Parkland in Sydney. A forerunner of all this is the Gas Works Park in Seattle.

A little creative thinking on the part of public officials and planners could create a historic legacy for generations to come rather than another uninspired, utilitarian project with some expensive housing and, well, a Legal Seafoods.

Check out incredible photos of the Landschaftspark here and a big flickr photosteam here.

Landschaftspark Night
Photo courtesy of Christoph Moseler/


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest gas silo was reused for a deep diving pool where one can simply have some fun or get some diving lessons.

1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should contact Jersey City or Newark...they would be more receptive to a Lanschaftpark idea...I don't think it is realistic that this will happen in Brooklyn, with developers being king in NYC.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you also fix the link in the photo itself? I'm sorry for being so picky but that's flickr rules. (again, you can delete the comment after fixing the comment)

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord. What you dont state is that there is a thriving Ikea on this site. It was build on part of the site where the only complete survey of plant and animal lfe was conducted.

8:19 AM  

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