GbD envisions this competition as an opportunity to consider a new urban typology while focusing on our protean relationship with water. Fresh water accounts for about 2% of all the water on the planet and as the climate continues to change, clean water is becoming a critical commodity. Its availability is subject to the vagaries of extreme weather patterns, such as droughts, hurricanes, and warm winters. Many designers are now evaluating the “embodied water” in their projects and seeking solutions that minimize the use of fresh water in a building’s construction and operations.
Despite the impact of climate change and efforts by the environmental and design communities, access and use of fresh water is still largely assumed to be a right, rather than a privilege. To challenge these assumptions, the competition program deliberately places two disparate uses of water on the same site. At the canal, untreated sewage overflow at the pump station is a conduit for waste entering the local environment. At the park, filtered water from the upstate reservoir system fills a pool that supports recreation. By redirecting overflow to a retention tank where it will be stored during heavy weather events, the area in and around the park becomes an active participant in a water management solution that dramatically reduces the canal’s pollution.
Design entries should present site-specific solution(s) that simultaneously explore water’s role in recreation, quotidian uses, and in contaminated urban environments, and demonstrate how a redesigned community center and retention facility represent a more progressive view of our city's infrastructure. The jury will look for designs that explore these challenges and propose a stronger community node within an area that is slowly establishing its identity as a viable mixed-use urban neighborhood.