Freshkills Arts and Science Field Center: Window Shopping Arts and Science
Before 2001, all of New York City’s waste went to Freshkills landfill in Staten Island, which was at one point the tallest man made structure in the world. Fifteen years ago the landfill was shut down and waste was mounded then capped. Today, Freshkills Landfill is advancing through its transition into NYC’s largest park. At over three times the size of Central Park, Freshkills Park holds a promising future as a haven for New York City’s populous- kayaking through the waterways, riding horseback, and hiking through grasslands (and atop the massive capped mounds of trash…). Freshkills Park also has educational material for all ages on our waste culture as well as the natural habitat of the wetlands which was filled with trash years ago.
My project proposes an Arts and Science Field Center at the heart of the Park, alongside a confluence of waterways running through the Park. Channeling the consumerist culture which produced quite literally the foundations of the site, the Arts and Science Field Center appropriates the plan of the American mall. Wrapped around an open atrium are artist studios and science labs with large glass fronts that allow the public to window shop their projects and work. By laying itself out as a mall, the Arts and Science Field Center presents a topology to the public which they are familiar with. It also opens up the private realm of the artist and the closed lab of the scientist into an incubator for public interest and engagement.
Emily Aran Brockenbrough is in her third year at the Barnard College of Columbia University majoring in Architecture and concentrating in Visual Arts and Literature. Currently she works for the Mohawk Valley Collective, which is committed to saving historic architecture in a blighted, agricultural region of upstate New York and transform crumbling structures into productive spaces for living and culture in the community. Additionally, Emily is interested in the intersection between social justice, civic engagement, and architecture- exploring the Ethics of Architects in past projects as well as taking part in a team teaching weekend Architecture and Urban Design studios to incarcerated teens at New York’s Rikers Island.
All text and images courtesy of Emily Brockenbrough.