One of the most surreal moments of the week for me: the amazing cellist and signer, perfoming against the background of trains coming and going.....
Sound clip #1
When we walked in Brooklyn, we feel the sounds in the environment are very diverse. The sound made by people and the sounds made by machine are all happened in the same time, and all the sounds can be heard separately. We recorded different sounds in today's trip and remixed it into a new clip, in order to represent the diversity of the sounds in Brooklyn.
The main shaft of the first clip is the footstep in the Brooklyn. We walked on different materials of ground and made different sounds while we travel in different sites. The clip is start from the sound of footstep on hard surface to the ground with stones, and end on the sand ground. In the mean time, the environment sounds are paralleled broadcast, such as trucks, cranes and subways. The activities of people are including as well, the chatting, conversation and the presentation. The diverse sounds in the background interpret the density of activities in the site we have been to today.
Sound Clip #2
We call the second clip as “Dialogue”. This represent not only the dialogue within one scene, we also staged conversation between different scenes.
We started with the first Thomas Balsley’s speech on the Gantry sate park plaza. We could hear a little bit environment sound. And then as he mentioned about the open window, the next sound we want to mimick the open and close of the window but actually it’s the sway of a wooden deck floating on the water.
To keep some kind of continuously element through out, we connected with another speech on the Rooftop farm she was talking about planting grains. So we follow up a sound effect of a mower on the previous plaza to represent the harvest. The funny thing is the background sound of the working mix with the speech of Thomas.
Since we use the two speech to emphasize the specific activities happened on the site. They are the literally dialogue happened in the context.
The next step is the sound of the turbine merged with wind, it’s a beautiful dialogue between artificial and natural to us. Then we could hear the sound of footstep passing by the stone pathway. It can be treated as an interference by human being but in a good way. Or maybe we should call it involvement to give the whole scene more dynamic.
Then follows the water sound in the Oko Farm. It is the sound of the Aquaponics’ working cycle. In this loop, waste water from the fish tank provides nutrients for the plants while the plants clean the water for the fish. We use the representative water sound to indicate the energetic of this micro-ecosphere.
We end up with the whistle of the train passing by Nature walk. On one hand we hope use this to demonstrate the leaving of industrial waste and the coming of the rebirth of industrial warehouse and plot space.
We could not directly wipe away the industrial trace no matter it’s good or bad. It’s our history, we must live with it. So to live better, we should give our industrial landscape a brighter color.
Sound has had an important role in our observations of place throughout our long walks in the city. I feel the incorporation of all the senses is something that is not often considered in our designs or while in landscape settings. Granted, you may not always find a reason to use taste and that is okay, but the emotions you experience in a place is much stronger when you don't just see the landscape, but you feel it, hear it, and smell it. On occasion, sound was definitely incorporated into the design plan through the addition of elements that highlight a specific sound. Paley Park is a great example, and even though we didn't see it today, I think that it is a nice example of how sound enriches a place.
The sounds of the waterfall blocked out city street noises and made it a calming place to relax where you didn't notice you were in the middle of busy New York City.
At the Newtown Creek Nature Walk, sound was also an integral part of the experience. As soon as you began to walk the site you could hear industrial sounds and city sounds. The tall concrete walls encouraged you to walk further and discover what it was you were meant to see and holes in the wall along the way gave you peeks at the areas beyond. The design of the Newtown Creek Nature Walk tries to tie the new and the old of the site together; revisiting the areas extensive and varied past and the new rehabilitation that is currently being improved upon. This area was put on the National Superfund Act in 2010 where it's cleanup as a toxic and harmful location would be given top priority.
I felt the industrial noises complemented the simple and contemporary design by adding the existing business and human activity to the views of this site. You didn't just look out at the water, you looked over the water at a scrap metal plant crushing cars and at enormous digester 'eggs' breaking down toxic sludge from the water into useable plant fertilizer and you heard the work being done. While we were there, a car was being crushed and machines were beeping, metal was scraping. As the group walked out a barge loaded with garbage was floating by.
The sounds of this site in particular are a constant reminder to the parks location and its standing as a Superfund site. When you approach the seven stones with the Native American inscriptions or the vegetation along the trail, you can't forget where you are. You don't have a chance to block out the city or the surrounding industrialization and I think that that was key in the design of Newtown Creek Nature Walk. The designer wanted to create awareness of the history that the location had seen. It had once been a flowing, tidal creek surrounded by a woodland habitat. Native American tribes inhabited the area, and the Dutch arrived here on their first explorations. Human consumption and industrialization poisoned the area, especially the water. Even though the water still rises and falls with the tides, it no longer flows. You can't go fishing because even if fish did exist in the waters, touching the water or the fish for that matter, would get you sick due to all the toxins. I think the simplicity of design, with its reminders of the past and present, the views of the digester eggs and the promise of a better future, and sounds of the continued industrial practices that have become a norm of the area all contribute to the way you feel in this space: that harm has been done to a beautiful landscape, and that it will take years of proactive efforts to create enough change to fully rehabilitate polluted/Superfund sites.
p.s. I couldn't get the video with my sound to upload :(
Today is the third day of our trip to NYC. It is a really exciting day. In the morning, Thomas Balsley gave us a tour to the Gantry State Park, and introduced several concepts in his design along with some of his life experience.
After that, we went to Brooklyn Grange Organic Range Rooftop Farm, Oko Farms which showed different types of urban farming. I think the idea of urban farming is interesting. The idea of having a farm on top of the roof is really nice. I think I want to know more about it.
We also went to Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant / Nature Walk which located on 329 Greenpoint Ave. Though the smell of the area is not good at all, the scenes there are quite unique. I saw the process of destroying cars!
Our last stop today was BLDG 92, Brooklyn Navy Yard. It is a well organized museum. A lot of settings are interesting. I like the way by which the history was displayed. It is fun and provide people opportunity to get involved. And also those models are so nicely made!
This was taken in the subway with people singing talking, and the sound of moving subway train and the radio of the station. The singing is relaxing and very different from other noise around it.
This was taken at the nature walk. There was a ship approaching and leaving with the machine in the back destroying cars. Also the sound of radio with person talking was there as a comparison to the sound of machine. It is interesting.
As for previous assignment, I have done 40 steps photos. This time, when I was waling in industrial area street, I recorded the sound of 40 steps on the street. Mostly, it is the sound of cars driving by with some
people talking and bird singing in the background.
Today was cloudy which was good for walking! We gathered at the Gantry State Park in the morning. It was really awesome that we got the chief designer himself, Thomas Balsley, to introduce the project. The project provide a great view of east Manhattan. The huge steel truss gates were very attractive and lead people to the waterfront sidewalk and square. I like the way Thomas deal with reserved rails and the steel chain. They were redesigned for landscape and recall the history of industrial background of the site. He designed the piers in a quite different way from the piers in Hudson River Park.
Then we headed to the Rooftop Farm. There were a lot of interesting stuff. The most impressive thing there should be the trash recycle and reuse system for planting. It use photovoltaic panel to supply power to degrade the food rubbish and make the soil more nutrient for microorganism in the soil. The guide girl told us there were several kinds of plants planting there with different harvesting time. This was a consideration of economic issue. And these features will make the soil fertile enough for farming. And the drop irrigation system was also clever to avoid waste of water and make sure each ridge can get enough water. Spray irrigation system was also applied in this farm. With the cooperation of these two system, water demand of different species of plants could be satisfied successfully. This farm achieved both economically and environmental friendly success. By the way, the chicken were really cute.
After lunch we went to Newtown Creek Nature Walk. Due to tired condition, I didn’t perform very well in the presentation to introduce the project as clearly as Kate. This project was also a proposal to recall industrial culture in last century. But the different is the scale of it is quite small. The length of the nature walk was only 1000 foot long. The “boulders” were not very attractive and did not mark the start point clearly. It was a kind of low-key style. I like the “vessel” part very much. There were several holes distributed randomly on the concrete walls. It improve the communication between the nature walk and the wastewater treatment plant. But on the other side of the pier, the walk was only opened towards Whale Creek side and it ended suddenly without any promotes.
The first sound clip was recorder on the way back to subway station. The sound were from sea gulls flying over the treatment plant. From the point of my standing, the sound of gulls reflect the waterfront atmosphere and it was quite loud because the treatment field was very widely opening. The volume pf the sound was enlarged by the field.
The most exciting part of today was the next stop which was named Oko Farms. The staff was full with enthusiasm and gave a very good introduction about the fish-water cycling system. Sorry about the plants hurt by my back bag in advance. This awesome system use the minimum machine to achieve a maximum sustainable system. I was really exiting about the process of how the cycling system works. Firstly, the collected water from ground, neighbors’ roof and recycled from fish tank was pumped to different kinds of filter tanks. One of them was bio-filter, which use microorganism living on tiny special balls to filter. The others were use special stone sphere to achieve the same purpose. Then the filtered water dropped into a main pipe to supply through two huge tanks. The tanks were covered with several punched foam panels with white top to control the temperature of the water underneath. Meanwhile, there were lots of tiny creatures lived in the water. The water was clean enough to attract insects such as dragonfly to settle here and control the population of destructive insects such as moisture at the same time. These microorganism also helped control the PH level of the water, which was a fatal factor of the system, and became food for the fishes. Fourthly, the water flowed into a settling tank and transfer to the fish tank in the greenhouse. The fishes made the water cleaner. The fishes could alive in winter as well due to the coldest temp in flowing was 4 ℃. But the tank would be covered by a thin piece of ice. The greenhouse can also be used for plant seeding and the water from the tank was nutrient.
The second sound clip was from the water drained from filter tanks. It reflect the essential concept of this project: using naturally way to solve natural issues. I liked this project very much!
On the passing two days, walking-around we had has taught the importance of color and spacial perception of landscape from various angles, while today we had passed rise another sensation to experience the landscape, sound. Normally speaking, this had not been the concentration on the list of consideration of landscape project, compared to color and narrative recognition. However, as another sense of five for a human being, hearing has been a wonderful tool to identify the object and calculate the distance, visualize the picture in mind, which extends the perception to another level.
Sound clip #1 was generated in Queens West Gantry Park. From it, sound of helicopter and wind take the majority of the sound wave and through them, the vision of one standing along the shoreline and looking at one helicopter took off from Manhattan is established and has been strengthened. It was taken after Tom told us the pier was meant to be the exit of ferry to pick up cars and people, but in fact they move to another block.
Sound clip #2 is taken when we were on the land of Brooklyn Grange Organic Range Rooftop Farm. From the sound clip, I could still feel my surprise about having domestic animals, like chickens, living in New York City, and one roof of the million ones. In another word, it is seemingly incompatibility on the contradictory that makes people have a cold feet at the first time and put hands to establish this farm, and it is the same thing that keeps all the founding partners to stick together and promote this idea into the fullest. Educational function serves as one of the promotional choices to introduce the sustainability on the land use and provide the prototype with rediscovery of the family and social significance on the communal table, that stranger would break the ice and pass the dinner dishes with organic greens right get from the cultivated land on the roof, then enjoy all the fun together.
By the way, it shared the similarities with the Gantry park on enhancing the vitality of communication among people in the same community. The difference is that Gantry park build up the dog run place. And owners can talk while dogs enjoy the play.
The third is taken when we are in the Green Thumb, aka Oko Farm. Aquaponics is one efficient cultivated form people has been used for thousand years in normal agriculture, but for urban farming, it has been of many interests to explore the feasibility and potential it can offer to the program. Now it maybe cowered in the corner try to fit greenhouse and other facilities together, but the future of this program can be potentially develop to the scale of roof farm and urban farming as the Brooklyn Grange Organic Range Rooftop Farm.
Hey, guess what?? I got it, I’m finally here blogging!! Got my computer working right again. Thanks for you patience everyone.
One of my favorite sounds remains the echoed lapping of water against the FDR memorial. We may have visited this site Monday but it remains an important landmark whenever we walk along the East River. I don't know if Kahn intended for the water to echo the same way he intended the light to radiate but interesting physics cause a change in the sound coming from this line. The smooth walls of the inner slab cause the waves to become more drawn out and mix together. Instead of hearing the one wave all the sounds begin to jumble within this zone and carry a single note. One begins to think whether these sounds have been captured and have been resonating since the memorials construction. The note is haunting familiar and distant at the same time. I know it is the ocean i am hearing but it sounds very foreign to me as if it is a ocean i have never seen because it existed at a different time. The echoed sounds of past waves crashing against the memorial reverberate for all time just like the words of one of America's greatest presidents. One of the important lessons from FDR's Four Freedoms speech is too remember the past for those you don't are bound to repeat injustice. The waves echo his words to always keep in mind that the past is never truly gone but always coming back in small gestures. Many of the other sounds of the River can be replicated and can be heard at different points along the waterfront but the Memorials strict design and material create an individual tone that cannot be replicated as easily as the rest.
This next sound comes from our walk through Gantries State Park. It is of a floating pier getting jostled in the heavy waves of the morning. A metal ramp connects the main strip with smaller floating docks and it is at this junction the creaking noise occurs. We tend to think the surfaces we stand on are stable but the waterfront introduces a whole set of natural features that throws our balance off. Sounds like these remind me we can never have total control over an environment there are always forces pushing and pulling the infrastructure we build. I wish i could have walked along the ramp but it was closed off, however i felt like i would fall off at any moment if i did try and walk out on it because the waves pushed this small metal plank into the air and back down. i found this clip interesting because its not just waves crashing against a shore but forcing the movement of a structure we believe is safe to stand on.
The trip today is pretty special. We visit the Landscapes which is located at industrial site in Brooklyn. The most impressive projects for us are Gantry Plaza State Park and Newtown Creek Wastewater. Both of them keep the original industrial nature, but have a different methods to mix the industrial elements and landscape to be a whole part. The gantry plaza state park keep the elements of the industry. The Newtown Creek Waste water does not change anything of the industrial nature, but try to find the balance.
The gantry plaza state park is my favorite park. I couldn’t agree with the designer any more When I saw the skyline of Manhattan: this park will be a popular place as the highline park. Standing on the passage ways, we can hearing the voice of the floating plate, the birds and the wave. The noise of the factories were very small. When we sitting near the sea, everything become more peaceful. The decrease progress of the voice can make people calmness. It’s a really good place to have a deep thought or a lunch. The steel frame of the factories near the sea make a huge contrast with the skyline of the Manhattan. It makes people thinking about the urbanization and the obsolescence of factories. Walking to the west of this park, dogs are permitted in this part. It makes people which living around this park could play and know more about each other.
The second park we want to talk about is Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant/Nature Walk which is located at 329 Greenpoint Ave. From the audio clip capturing sounds of this landscape, we are easy to hear the wind, the water and the machine at the same time. All the elements in the sound are the evidence for this re-imagined industrial park. Actually, this site is not a good choice for building a park. It is surrounded by the factory, noisy and the water that is not so clean. How to make a balance between the original environment and the new park is the biggest problem which should be solved I think. The Nature Walk doesn’t try to change the environment. What the designer did is make a narrow path that is surrounded the site. The concrete wall or the green plant is like a boundary which is between the transparency and the closed. The environment in the park and out the park is able to communicate by this way, but both of them are in two space at the same time. It really appreciate the balance the park has. This balance is the unique element that these re-imaged industrial park hold.
The Van Alen Institute, on the other hand is another example to mix the industrial elements and the landscape. Based on the original industrial building, it makes it into another function. All the elements seems to be reborn, and have a band-new and unique style to fit the industrial environment.
ps: the voice file is still uploading.
After two day hard walking in Manhattan, I have to say getting up in the morning is really a kind of tough work for me and my partner. When I opened my eyes and checked my watch, I hoped to such a degree that it could be earlier than it was. But the reality was always cruel. When I standing in the train of subway I felt I could sleep without bed and chair.
Taking half an hour subway, we arrived at the Gantry State Park in Long Island City from which there is a great view to downtown Manhattan across East River. Other than beautiful lawn and play ground, there were many industrial remains designed by Thomas Balsley and Lee Weintraub. The pier structures and train rails seemed to be pretty conflict and contradict with the residence building and the United Nation in the other side of the East River. However, that was the most interesting concept for me in the park. And then we moved forwards to the Hunter’s Point South Park that was connected with the Gantry State Park. For me the most impressive thing is the artificial lawn and the natural lawn in a same site. It seems like not only for architects, but also landscape designer, the client is always the most inevitable element during the project process.
Following these two parks, we went to a rooftop farm that was a kind of farm I never saw before. The farm’s name is Brooklyn Grange Organic Range Rooftop Farm which located at 38-18 Northern Boulevard, Queen. On the rooftop of a building, there is a really organized and well-designed green farm. The Staff introduced all of the details of this farm and I could see it is pretty excellent and potential try about rooftop space in a city. The status of this farm is running in a effective model which can be developed by community service. If they could figure out a kind of available business model, I believe it can be spread in a large scope.
After a quick lunch, we had a interesting travel to a novel site which I am not sure I have get all the points. Its name is Oko farm that is not easy to be noticed in a street corner. Actually it looks like a kind of artificial biosphere based on water, plants, fish, and microbe. I have to say that’s very brilliant to design such a landscape model in a little yard. It’s pretty difficult to describe my feeling after looking around the farm. It shocked me. Indeed I wanted to have a much more detailed research about it online a few day later.
The last spot today was the BLDG92, Brooklyn Navy Yard. Not only for its landscape, the building itself was a very excellent green building. There were several green building technology supplied in it, just like solar heating system and photovoltaic. Along the clear circulation, the photos and warship model were very amazing to me, a history fan. Especially there were several warcraft model about the WWI and WWII. I have to say they are not only exhibit, they are work of art. Although the exhibition was still on process, it has been excellent and attractive.
Industrial Landscapes Reclaimed