Sweet public development for the Big Apple

A sugar refinery in the Brooklyn suburb of Williamsburg is being turned into a six-acre public park.

Due to open on June 10, Domino Park is a collaboration between Two Trees, SHoP Architects, and James Corner Field Operations, and reclaims the former Domino Sugar Refinery site for a mixed-use development project.

The refinery dates back to 1882, when it was the largest in the world, but has been left unused since 2004.

 A shot of the abandoned sugar refinery courtesy of Curbed NY. 

A shot of the abandoned sugar refinery courtesy of Curbed NY. 

According to David Lombino of Two Trees, Brooklyn Community Board 1 currently has the worst ratio of residents to open public space in New York City, making Domino Park a significant gain for the neighbourhood.

The park runs along a quarter-mile of waterfront, and has been designed to include amenities such as a volleyball sand court, dog run, gathering and seating areas, and lawns.

 The waterfront park is due to open June 2018.

The waterfront park is due to open June 2018.

Many aspects of the park’s design repurpose materials from the original factory: the elevated catwalk is to be supported by columns from the sugar warehouse, wood from the same warehouse will be used to create benches along the promenade, and a sugar refinery inspired playground will be included for children.

An artefact walk spanning five blocks will include 30 items of salvaged factory machinery displayed as sculptural installations. These include syrup tanks, screw converters and teal cranes. Lisa Switkin, landscape architect from James Corner Field Operations, describes the artefact walk as a “threshold and entrance. It’s a gesture to get people to inquire about the history of the place.”

James Corner Field Operations envisions the project will “reconnect the neighbourhood to the riverfront”, both preserving a piece of Brooklyn’s history and providing Williamsburg with some much needed green space.

 Looking to a new future for what was once the biggest sugar refinery in the world.

Looking to a new future for what was once the biggest sugar refinery in the world.