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MAS Announces Design Teams for Fresh Kills

fresh kills aerial

The Municipal Art Society of New York (MAS) has announced six principal design teams – Field Operations, of Philadelphia, PA; Hargreaves Associates, of Cambridge, MA; Tom Leader Studio, of Berkeley, CA; John McAslan + Partners, of London; Rios Associates, Inc., of Los Angeles, CA; and Sasaki Associates, Inc., of Watertown, MA – to develop proposals for Fresh Kills: Landfill to Landscape Conceptual Master Plan, the plan to guide the end use of the Fresh Kills landfill located in Staten Island.

MAS, in partnership with the New York City Department of City Planning, the departments of Sanitation, Parks and Recreation, Cultural Affairs, and the State of New York, are sponsoring the international design competition. Together, these entities constitute the competition organizing committee, which evaluated 49 proposals to arrive at the six chosen design teams.

“The competition is going forward close to schedule,” said Holly Leicht, director of design, planning and advocacy for the MAS. “The depth of the six selected teams, and the level of expertise and innovation that will be reflected in their proposals, is inspiring. Fresh Kills has been indelibly affected by the World Trade Center disaster and we are confident the teams will find a way to acknowledge Fresh Kills as new place in New York’s history, if appropriate, within this opportunity for ecological rebirth.”

The finalists’ design proposals will be on public display at the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences from December 6 through January 18, 2002 relocating to the Municipal Art Society’s Urban Center Galleries on Madison Avenue January 23 through March 5, 2002. In December, a jury of leading architects, designers, city officials and other experts will rank the top three proposals. The City will then initiate negotiations with the top-ranked teams.

Fresh Kills Landfill, located on the western shore of Staten Island, received its final shipment of household garbage on March 22, 2001. The landfill, which is approximately 2,200-acres, is composed of four mounds ranging in height from 90 to over 200-feet, that are the result of more than 50 years of land filling. Prior to September 11th, the Twin Towers could be seen from the mounds.

Since the World Trade Center tragedy, a portion of the landfill has been temporarily reopened to serve as the repository for the debris and the locus of the criminal investigation. Although the design teams are not required to alter their proposals in light of the September 11th tragedy, Fresh Kills’ intimate role in the recovery process is unlikely to be overlooked by the teams.

“Fresh Kills now has the opportunity to become a regional amenity instead of an eyesore, said Ellen Ryan, director of planning issues for the Society. “These design teams represent our best hope of transforming the site into one that will respond to the natural and constructed history of the site and meet the needs of the city’s communities, perhaps incorporating a memorial for the World Trade Center.”