M-RAD: Fresh Hills

While I was attending Dalhousie, getting my masters in Architorture, I had a partner in crime with whom I had an spectacular amount of fun; Matthew Rosenberg, founder of the LA based design office M-RAD. Getting into all the kinds of trouble one really should, and some that one shouldn't, we supported each others Scotch habits, and helped each other make it through the late night x-acto blade and super glue marathons that are so prevalent in architecture school. Sadly, our time together was cut short (perhaps for the best), when he moved on to pursue his masters of architecture at SCI-Arc, whereas I stayed on at Dal. Needless to say, we've stayed in touch over the years, and recently I was happily impressed with an outstanding achievement of his, when he received second place in the Fresh Kills Land Art Generator Competition

His project Fresh Hills for Fresh Kills was not only conceptually strong, but a beautiful, poetic response to the site, and so I felt the need to share it with you.

The project in his words:
As we approach Fresh Hills the undulating mounds appear to be natural elements growing from the earth. The closer we get, however, it is clear this structure, like the mounds below it, are not native to the recently capped Fresh Kills landfill site. Its form rests lightly on the existing topography and creates definition across the expansive horizon. It caresses the East mound creating a seamless integration between utility scale energy harnessing and a program filled landscape. It creates a harmonious relationship between earth and wind. Fresh Hills is a remedy for the typical turbine farm that so often isolates the landscape and discourages communities from engaging the space. The artificial landscape lifts higher at levels of increased energy potential where more predominant wind speeds and duration exist. It is a direct relationship between energy and land. The apparatus is generated from the grafting of Fresh Kills windrose data onto the site, creating a seamless exchange between the site-specific data and the structure used to harness that information. The project is site specific, but the concept provides global versatility.

The apparatus supports the wind turbines while also acting as a buffer that redirects and dissipates airflow towards the turbines vortex. The expansive surface area at the mouth of the mounds helps funnel wind towards the turbine and takes advantage of the fluid dynamic nature of airflow. The structure guides the airflow creating a low-pressure system on the other side of the mounds resulting in a pastoral central plaza. As if standing at the eye of a storm, the central hub becomes a place to gather, reflect, play, and explore. At the same time, the hub acts as a departure point guiding the user through its valleys to the extending vista platforms. The platforms set up a relationship between the user and the park as they reach out to frame the surrounding context. As site lines extend beyond the immediate park all the way to the Manhattan skyline, a richer meaning to the history of Fresh Kills transpires. Fresh Hills is more than a CO2 filtering, energy generating landscape. Fresh Hills is a beacon tuned to its specific frequency.  It illustrates to the world what the future of Fresh Kills stands for and delivers a promise for a healthier future. It is a symbol that people will recognize, learn from, and interact with for many years to come.