Housing on the Gowanus Canal
Yale School of Architecture
Critic: Miriam Peterson
This proposal for the Gowanus Canal finds potential in integrating multi-family housing and infrastructure development to advance climate mitigation on city-owned land. Where many proposals for preventing flooding along canals contract and ‘armor’ the waterway, this proposal expands and connects the canal into adjacent streets, regaining the absorptive and filtering capacities of the historic marsh on the site. The figure of the original canal is inscribed by durable live-work apartments above.
Here, the residents and the wetland are reciprocal stewards of one other. Contemporary residential development along the Gowanus presents the canal as a picturesque amenity, even though the canal is Superfund site plagued by chronic combined sewage outflow. This proposal allows the canal to testify to the city’s historical and ongoing metabolic processes. Contrasting the dominant mode of development, this housing project foregrounds the inextricable link between urban dwellers and urbanized land to foreground their mutual dependency.