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November 22, 2016

DDC Earns Three Awards from the City’s Public Design Commission

Projects in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Staten Island Recognized for Excellence in Design

Shavone Williams

Dan Leibel

New York, NY – The New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) was honored this week with three awards from the Public Design Commission’s (PDC) for Excellence in Design for various public projects. The 40th Police Precinct in the Bronx, the Waterfront Nature Walk in Brooklyn, and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center Music Hall Addition in Staten Island were recognized by Mayor de Blasio and officials from the PDC as examples of innovative and thoughtful design in civic spaces in New York City.

“To have three projects honored by the Public Design Commission is a testament to DDC’s commitment to high quality public projects that lead the way to a resilient, sustainable and equitable future for the City,” said DDC Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora. “The spirit of improvement that DDC employees advance every day, along with our partnerships with client agencies and elected officials, enable us to build a New York City for all to be proud of.”

Rendering of the 40th Precinct in the South Bronx
Rendering of the 40th Precinct in the South Bronx

The 40th Police Precinct in the South Bronx was designed for the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and is equipped with a community meeting room aimed to increase community engagement and develop open communication between community members and the police, a first of its kind in any police facility in the City. The building’s unique façade allows for sunlight to reach the main areas of the precinct and provides space for sustainable features such as a green roof and highly reflective surfaces to keep reduce stormwater runoff. 

The structure exceeds requirements for LEED Silver certification and will be equipped with bike racks, an exterior courtyard, a stress reduction room, and a basketball half-court to promote mental and physical health in the community and on premises. The building was designed in a collaborative effort between DDC, NYPD, Bjarke Ingels Group, and Starr Whitehouse Architects.

Rendering of the Waterfront Nature Walk in Brooklyn
Rendering of the Waterfront Nature Walk in Brooklyn

The Waterfront Nature Walk was designed to reclaim previously inaccessible industrial shoreline for public use along Newtown Creek and Whale Creek in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. This project is being managed by the DDC for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and is encompassed under the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Percent for Art Program. Located near the Newtown Creek Water Pollution Control Plant, the goal of the project is to deliver aesthetically pleasing and functional public park space to an area typically associated with urbanization and industrialization. 

The Nature Walk will also include a lush garden that serves as a bioswale, which captures stormwater and diverts pollutants from reaching nearby natural sources of water. Designed in conjunction with artist George Trakas and Quennell Rothschild & Partners, the project is currently under construction and will include a bridged walkway that connects to the street grid on either side of the treatment plant and will also provide shade structures, benches and drinking fountains for public use. The project is also valuable from an educational perspective due to historical elements showcased, including 385-million-year-old tree fossils unearthed at the Gilboa Dam in Schoharie County and integrated materials that allude to the arrival of Europeans to New York City and the shipmaking and lumber industries that blossomed in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Rendering of the Music Hall at Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island
Rendering of the Music Hall at Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island

The Music Hall at the Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island was originally built in 1892 and is the second oldest theater in New York City. Due to the historic nature of the original structure, a major addition to theater will include ADA access and public assembly space to effectively modernize the space. Floor-to-ceiling glass allows for natural light and views for visitors to enjoy in the open space in the theater.

The project is slated for LEED Silver certification due to high energy efficiency that is largely a result of the building’s glass envelope. A landscaped courtyard will also provide space for music and theater performances. The music hall will bring diversity in programming to the Snug Harbor campus and will act as a beacon of healthy living and cultural equity for New Yorkers to enjoy in years to come. The project is a joint venture between the DDC, the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center. Studio Joseph and SCAPE/Landscape Architecture contributed to the design of the project as well.

A full list of winning projects is available through the Mayor’s website.

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit