The Edge in Williamsburg

Designed by W Architecture & Landscape, the Williamsburg waterfront has been dominated by industry for over a century – making it largely off limits to the public.

New zoning is changing the public interface with the water’s edge by increasing density and emphasizing waterfront access. The “Edge” park seeks to bring people to the river and stretch the river eco-system into the fabric of the community.

The firm says: “As landscape architect for both the new residential towers and the public waterfront park, we have the challenge of ensuring that the towers act not as symbolic fences blocking public access and views of the East River and Manhattan but as gateways to the river and corridors to access classic views of the Manhatttan skyline.”

The “Edge” waterfront emphasizes the confrontation of disparate forces at the waters edge and encourages public use.

At the river’s edge the city grid and the river’s ecosystem converge, mingle, and clash: the street turns into a pedestrian greenway, a garage is surmounted with a sloping lawn, piers reach gently into the water from deep within the park and stone riverbank contrasts with concrete bulkhead.

The synthesis and separation of private and public space, and architecture and ecology required a complex series of collaborations with community groups, the developer, the city government, the parks department, and various engineers.




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