Ashley Kelly, Rikako Wakabayashi

Brooklyn, NY USA

This project creates a highly visible, experiential public infrastructure that responds to the shifting ecosystem of Jamaica Bay and defines a new vision of the relationship between nature and people. Though within New York City, it is a stretch to call this an urban park in the context of Manhattan. Gateway must be made more accessible in terms of its idea.

On a marginal landscape with great biotic diversity, we believe that people should be educated that ecosystems are in necessary flux, a cycle increasingly complex with today's global climate shifts. Capturing the diversity of Gateway's ECOTONES, or zones of ecological tension, we propose an urban park that creates a microcosm of shifting habitats, program and landforms. These ecotones then operate at the larger scale of Jamaica Bay's salt-marshes to reanimate those processes made static by decades of urban dross, fill and dredging.

Great cities have a hard edge, a definite sense of place and identity. This designed strategy of jetties and piers, marshlands, tides and rising sea levels defines where the ecotone line will be drawn – the way people map boundaries and communicate them at a more human scale. In doing so, we establish a sense of place prepared to mark the future of our 'natural' environment. We're approaching the notion of a complex landscape, actively constructed, naturally passive, and which reconceptualizes the national park where urban decay, renewal and refuge can coexist.


Ashley Scott Kelly resides in Brooklyn NY and works in the HOK Planning Group, pursuing local and international urban planning and architecture projects in addition to developing large on-site planning efforts to sustain India's developing infrastructure. His primary interest is in the restoration of urban dross-scapes through ecologically as well as economically sensitive design solutions. In 2006, he completed his undergraduate studies in architecture at the University of Michigan.

Rikako Wakabayashi, originally of Yokohama, Japan, has worked for firms in Niigata, Japan and Zurich, Switzerland prior to a position as designer and project coordinator with New York-based Lalire March Architects. Her experience ranges from conceptual design to realization of high-end commercial and educational spaces. At the University of Michigan, she pursued a multi-disciplinary study of architecture and planning culminating in the design of an urban park in the context of Detroit's depopulating cityscape and the completion of her B.S. in 2006. She will begin the Master of Architecture program at Columbia University in the fall of 2007.