The ubiquitous, yet elusive and diaphanous nature of water makes it impossible to fully tame, to possess exclusively – it is the epitome of “public.” The unfulfilled potential of the East River offers opportunity for public exchange. Its realization is dictated through the commonality of water: water as public terrain.
Initial intervention into the river is the charting and insertion of a new occupiable path. This infrastructural armature serves to eliminate the present disconnectedness of the edge by linking and augmenting the scattered public and abandoned spaces that currently dot the riverbank. Thus, the path not only creates additional public space on the river itself, but also contemplates its internal evolution in the absorption of adjacent lots.
Animating the river is a fleet of floating program vessels which are received by the new terrains. These vessels are interchangeable, generating perpetually mutating landscapes for public congregation and play. The terrains, whether anchored or floating provide a complement, contradiction, or a supplement to the existing river communities. This programmatic freedom resists assimilations and stability.
The migratory nature of these landscapes allows them to respond to the daily estuarial fluctuations of the river. The natural ebb and flow of the water both merges with and imposes itself upon the context of public program and occupation, actively affecting the ground condition. In this way, the cyclical imposition of the tidal water is primary in the inhabitant’s perception of physical accessibility and boundary. Thus, public program, terrain, and occupation simultaneously respond and react to the changing conditions these new tidal landscapes, fulfilling the communal promise of the river itself.
Project Team: Aaron Neubert, Mike Jacobs