Pier 2 at Brooklyn Bridge Park

Brooklyn, New York

Pier 2 is an adaptive reuse project of an existing 174,240 sf warehouse structure converted into a sports and exercise hub within Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates’ Brooklyn Bridge Park. Conceived as a “toybox” for the larger park, Pier 2 is dense with recreational courts and equipment including six basketball courts, ten handball courts, an inline skating rink, bocce courts, tetherball courts, 35 swings, chess tables, playgrounds, and picnic areas. These programmed activities are suspended between the continuous pier deck surface and an existing corrugated roof plane that has been partially excavated to emphasize voids of sky and views of lower Manhattan and to allow light into the dark four-acre existing structure. Polycarbonate skylights are inserted strategically to bring a diffused quality of light deep into the interior, reinforcing the indoor/outdoor quality of the new sports complex. The resulting undulating roof form creates a dappled world of light and shadow on the continuous deck surface of the interior. The visual pattern of the roof solids and voids reveals program within and, visible from the Brooklyn Bridge, extends the pier’s reach to a wider public. Its open walls and bright silhouette invite exploration from onlookers. Inside, an open floor plan separated only by semitransparent screens fosters community through visual connectivity while still demarking programmatic boundaries. In contrast to the verticality of Manhattan, Pier 2 employs horizontal layering as an organizational strategy for sequence of program, creating a dramatic shift between foreground and the backdrop of the city and determining a unique and memorable identity for the space.