Credit: Paul Warchol


Just five years ago, the parcel of land on the Williamsburg waterfront in Brooklyn, N.Y., now known as the Bushwick Inlet Park, was a parking lot and the former home of a gas plant. Not only was it an urban eyesore, the completely impervious surface would send any amount of precipitation in one of two directions: either to the city’s already overburdened sewer system or, in bigger storms, gushing into the East River. As part of a comprehensive re-zoning in 2005, the New York City Department of City Planning allowed for higher densities in this part of northwest Brooklyn and the 6.2-acre waterfront parcel was set aside to become public open space. To carry that out that design, the New York City of Parks and Recreation turned to New York–based landscape architecture firm Starr Whitehouse and Kiss + Cathcart Architects.

Opened in October 2013, the park has quickly become a popular community space—an average of 1,000 people use the space each day, a number that will surely spike in the coming summer months. It’s roughly divided into three zones: At the water’s edge, tidal pools replace what had been a decaying bulkhead; in the center, a full-size soccer field provides recreational space; and, at the street-facing edge, the park heaves upward to form a sloping hill that doubles as a green roof for a building that houses both a New York City Park maintenance and operations facility and a community facility.

Everything in the design is doubly operative, linking recreation with ambitious environmental performance benchmarks. Because New York City uses combined sewer overflows, the architects were determined to manage stormwater in such a way that nothing from the site would ever enter the sewers. With this in mind, they included a 15,000-gallon cistern under the soccer field’s artificial turf that collects rainfall that is then used to irrigate the green roof. For the heavily trafficked lawn, ample irrigation was necessary, so the park’s water harvesting system will cover irrigation from rainwater (46 percent) and from the playground feature (54 percent). No potable water is used to maintain the site. In bouts of heavy rain, the tidal pools will filter water before draining into the river. 

The design brief had called for a 15,000-square-foot building to house a community center and space for maintenance, but because park space is an amenity in short supply, they tucked it under the park’s sloping hill. This green roof ensures that the building’s footprint does not eat away at green space, and by sheltering the building’s interior spaces from western exposure to sun and prevailing winds, it provides critical insulation. Elsewhere, glass curtainwalls let in the winter sun, while the roof’s overhang and an array of vertical wood louvers provide shade from the summer sun. Ninety-eight percent of interior space has views to the outdoors, and the architects estimate that artificial lights can be kept off for 89 percent of the time during daylight hours. The all-electric building is calculated to save 51 percent of energy compared to the ASHRAE 90.1-2004 baseline. A shade structure atop the green roof doubles as a photovoltaic array and generates 36 percent of the building’s electrical usage. 

Though the Parks Department had stipulated a LEED Silver rating, the park is positioned to be certified LEED Platinum. “The client really encouraged us to make the project better in every way,” says Kiss + Cathcart principal Gregory Kiss. “They were very receptive to ideas and took a long view of the project.”


Click here to see all of the 2014 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects. Scroll down for more images, along with performance data and project team and materials information. Stay tuned for profiles of this year's winning firms on Ecobuildingpulse.com, along with additional coverage of this year's Top Ten in the Spring issue of ECOBUILDING Review.

Credit: Malcolm Pinckney


Credit: Paul Warchol


  • Credit: Paul Warchol


Credit: Paul Warchol


BY THE NUMBERS
Project completion date:
October 2013
Building gross floor area: 15,527 square feet
Estimated percent of occupants using public transit, cycling, or walking: 80
Daylighting at levels that allow lights to be off during daylight hours: 89
Lighting power density (watts per square foot): 1.17
Percent of views to the outdoors: 98
Percent of spaces within 15 feet of an operable window: 71
Percent reduction of regulated potable water: 47
Potable water used for irrigation: No
Percent of rainwater from maximum anticipated 24-hour, two-year storm event that can be managed on site: 80
Total EUI (kBtu per square foot per year): 42
Net EUI (kBtu per square foot per year): 27
Percent reduction from national median EUI for building type: 59
Third-party rating: LEED Platinum (certification pending)
Total project cost as time of completion (land excluded): $30 million

GREEN TEAM
Architect: Kiss + CathcartGregory Kiss, Clare Miflin, Jeff Miles, Heather McKinstry, kisscathcart.com
Landscape architects: Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and PlannersStephen Whitehouse, Jeffrey Poor, Rachel Bentley-Fufezan, Sarah Clark, Paul Appleton, starrwhitehouse.com
Client, owner: NYC Parks, nycgovparks.org
Mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineers: A.G.Consulting EngineeringGary Guleria, agceng.com
Structural engineer: Robert Silman AssociatesScott Hughes, Sylvester Black, rsapc.com
Civil, geotechnical and environmental engineers: Langan Engineering & Environmental ServicesChris Vitolano, Michael Nilson, Gregory Biesiadecki, Erik Muller, Jason Hayes, Stuart Knoop, Tom Devaney, Vince Zakrzewski, langan.com
Lighting design: AWA Lighting DesignersAbhay Wadhwa, awalightingdesigners.com
Green roof consultants: RoofmeadowCharlie Miller, roofmeadow.com
Site engineering: Wesler-Cohen AssociatesBill Ackerman, Ed Anderson, Mark Keptsi, Maryanne Papa, wesler-cohen.com
LEED consultant (design): Community Environmental CenterLarsen Plano, Courtney Royal, cecenter.org
LEED consutant (construction): Taitem EngineeringCrista Shopis, taitem.com
Energy modeling: Taitem EngineeringUmit Sirt 
Commissioning agent: Taitem EngineeringLou Vogel
Rainwater harvest: Geosyntec ConsultantsPhil Reidy, geosyntec.com
Cost estimator: Accu-Cost Construction ConsultantsFrank Mennella, accucost.com
Specifications: Construction SpecificationsAaron Pine, constructionspex.com
Code expediter: Design 2147Sisto Martello, design2147.com
Construction manager: URS CorporationJohn Hartmann, Robert Roslewicz, urs.com
General contractor, phase 1: William A. Gross Construction AssociatesDamien Ricci, wagross.com
General contractor, phase 2: Perfetto Contracting Co.Caesar Perfetto, Mikhail Zeygman, perfettocontracting.com
HVAC contractor, phase 2: CDE Air Conditioning Co.Joseph F. Azara, Jr., Douglas Moore, cdeair.com
Electrical contractor, phase 2: Dynamic Electric SystemsFred Shufane, Barney Hedburg, dynamicelectricinc.com
Plumbing contractor, phase 2: Lafata-Corallo Plumbing and HeatingDanielle Maglio, lcphinc.com

MATERIALS
Acoustical system:
Sonoglass, monoglass.com/sonoglass/
Alternative energy systems: Sunpower, us.sunpower.com; Alt Power, altpower.com
Carpet: Interface, interface.com
Ceilings: Armstrong
Cladding: Trespa, trespa.com
Flooring: Roppe, roppe.com; Scofield, scofield.com; TQ. tq-3.com
Glass: PPG. ppg.com
HVAC: Carrier; Cook
Insulation: Monoglass, monoglass.com
Below slab insulation: Poly Molding Corp., polymoldingllc.com
Lighting control systems: Hubbell, hubbelllighting.com
Lighting: Neoray; Philips; Y lighting; Vantage; Kreon; HK Lighting; Windirect; GE Lumination; Metalux; Light Edge; Erco; Winona; Aldabra
Masonry, concrete and stone: Belden Tri-State Building Materials, btsbm.com; Aercon, aerconaac.com
Metal: American Rail, americanrailing.com
Paints and finishes: Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com
Pavers: SF Rima
Plumbing and water systems: Containment Solutions
Green roof: TQ 3, tq-3.com; Sponzilli Landscape Group, sponzilli.com
Site and landscape products: Weisz + Yoes; Soheil Mosun, mosun.com
Structural systems: Wood Construction Systems, wcstimber.com
Windows and doors: Nanawall, nanawall.com; Efco Windows, efcocorp.com
Playground equipment: Game Time, gametime.com
Grille work and gates: Barnett Bates, barnettbates.com
Sunshades: Construction Specialties, c-sgroup.com
Synthetic turf: Domo Sports Grass, domosportsgrass.com 

Data provided by AIA and Kiss + Cathcart, Architects.