College hosts design competition

UH’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture hosted a competition for architects, urban designers, engineers and students Friday to design a structure to “fill in” a 22-block gap along Manhattan’s East River.

“Close the Gap: Envisioning the East River Greenway for 21st century New York” is an international design competition that was sponsored by d3 and Transportation Alternatives.

Director of Interior Architecture and Assistant Professor of Architecture at UH Gregory Marinic and Sandra McKee, adjunct professor of architecture at Columbia University, curated the exhibit and were on hand to give observers a tour of the exhibition.

“The idea behind the competition was to make people aware of the problem and to come up with some solutions,” McKee said.

The competition drew 26 responses from 22 countries, ranging from Iran to Bangladesh.

The competitors’ visions for the gap included green energy alternatives, how to clean the river’s water, deal with water run-off and a way for pedestrians to cross over Franklin D. Roosevelt East River Drive.

McKee, a member of Transportation Alternatives, said she had been looking at this gap on the east side for a long time and noticed it caused problems for both cyclist and drivers on a daily basis.

“In New York right now, there is this huge envy for what is happening on the west side. They have the High Line, the Greenway, and there is this sort of feeling that the east side is being left behind,” McKee said.

Judges selected two entries for first place, one from Planet Architects, and the other by James and Madeline Stokoe, a father-daughter team. No second place was awarded, but there was a third place and seven honorable mentions.

Marinic said the exhibit was hosted at UH to help influence architecture students, and he hopes students will get involved in the future competitions.

Close the Gap will be open to the public until March 9 at the Mashburn Gallery inside the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.

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