“This urban park reclaims a former unmarked burial ground for the Brooklyn Naval Hospital as the first node along the 26-mile Brooklyn Greenway. A universally accessible wooden boardwalk seems to hover—in part due to a deliberate light touch required for preservation reasons—across an undulating, grassy plane of pollinator habitat to a cherry grove. Site sensitivity is reflected in thoughtful detailing, including a consistent directionality of boardwalk plank layout. At 1.7 acres, it has an outsized impact due to its abundance of native plants within an otherwise industrial pocket of the city beside an expressway, providing locals with respite from the general bustle of city life within its tranquil grounds.”
– 2020 Awards Jury
海军公墓景观是布鲁克林绿道计划（Brooklyn Greenway Initiative）的第一个新建公共开放空间，整体规划沿着26英里的滨水绿道延伸。该项目的场地曾经是布鲁克林海军医院的非正规墓园，经过此次重建，原本废弃的地块被重新激活，成为了一个具有文化和生态意义的公共空间，在密集的城市环境中创造出平静、安宁且能够唤起回忆的体验。
The Naval Cemetery Landscape is the first new public open space to be developed by the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative along the 26-mile Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway. Historically an unmarked burial ground associated with the Brooklyn Naval Hospital, this project revitalizes an abandoned parcel of the Brooklyn Navy Yard into a culturally and ecologically significant public space. The immersive site experience provides a sense of peace, refuge and remembrance within an otherwise dense urban environment.
The Entrance Pavilion provides the threshold to the landscape and guides visitors onto an undulating boardwalk. Floating above a sea of native grasses, sedges, and forbes, the planked path frames the Memorial Meadow and Sacred Grove in the distance. Plantings focus on the establishment of much needed native plant fodder for butterflies, bees, and moths – pollinators critical to the ecological health and community gardens of the region. Universally accessible, the Naval Cemetery Landscape provides an immersive antidote to the built-environment.
▲海军公墓景观设计总平面图，Naval Cemetery Landscape Site Plan © Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
▲用于公众展示的历史研究资料。蜿蜒的木栈道使人联想到如今已经被完全掩埋的Wallabout溪流形态；纪念树林则呼应了场地的农业历史。A page showing historical research used for public presentations. The sinuous boardwalk hearkens to the meandering form of the now completely covered Wallabout Creek, while the Memorial Grove references the site’s previous agricultural use. © Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
▲公园入口框出位于后方的纪念草坪的景色。The entry threshold frames the Memorial Meadow beyond. © Max Touhey
▲抬升于地面的木栈道犹如漂浮在草地上。定制的菱形桥墩系统使步道得以轻盈而稳固地坐落在神圣的土地之上。The raised boardwalk appears to float within the meadow. A custom designed diamond pier footing system sits lightly and respectfully on the hallowed ground beneath. © Max Touhey
▲示意图，阐释了木栈道的基本几何形状。Diagram illustrating the underlying geometries shaping the boardwalk. © Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
▲洋槐木栈道提供了多个方向的界面，在为景观赋予统一性的同时将人们的视线引向周围的草地。The orientation of the Black Locust decking is consistent across multiple surfaces and elevations, providing a sense of unity while directing the eye to the surrounding meadow. © Max Touhey
▲露天剧场带来聚会的空间，使游客得以观看到不断变化的景致。The amphitheater provides a space for gatherings with prospect over the ever changing landscape. © Max Touhey
▲与木栈道交错而置的花岗岩块使人联想到石碑和海军造船厂的石锚，同时为游客带来了深入体验草坪的机会。A line of granite blocks intersecting the boardwalk recall both burial and the mooring blocks of the Navy Shipyard while providing an invitation to experience the meadow. © Max Touhey
▲夏日盛开的野花吸引着人们漫步其中。Summer wildflowers make for an inviting stroll. © Max Touhey
▲郁葱的植物使人沉浸在宁静的氛围之中。Immersive with lush plantings, a sense of calm prevails. © Max Touhey
▲蜜蜂养殖是公园举办的众多户外教育活动之一。Beekeeping is one of the many outdoor educational opportunities hosted by the Naval Cemetery Landscape. © Brooklyn Greenway Initiative
▲公众可以参与公园的多种活动，例如生态学研讨会、冥想小组和每周三的瑜伽之夜。The park offers numerous popular activities such as ecology workshops, meditation groups, and Wednesday night yoga. © Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
▲植物的形态决定了景观设计，让植物的丰富性和生命力和得到进一步彰显。Elemental forms structure the design of the landscape, allowing for the fecundity of the plantings to emerge. © Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
▲长椅上附带的笔记本，记录了公众对海军公墓景观的体验和感受，并为其他游客留下信息。A community notebook to record the experience of the Naval Cemetery Landscape and leave a message for other visitors to the site. © Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects
In partnership with exceptional clients and engaged stakeholders, the landscape architect developed a meaningful program rooted in site history and ecology while responding to the open space needs of the neighborhood and that of the broader community. Operating within intense site constraints, the landscape architects focused on authenticity, function, and simplicity in every aspect of design, from form to material, to create a grounded experience that gently aligns the senses to seasonal flows.
As primary clients, the Brooklyn Greenway Initiative (BGI) and NatureSacred Foundation provided the leadership and funding to guide the park from vision to reality. NatureSacred supports the creation of urban green spaces that reduce stress, improve health, and strengthen community. For over a decade, BGI has acted as the catalyst for the development, establishment and long-term stewardship of the Brooklyn Waterfront Greenway.
The new park honors the NatureSacred mission to reconnect people with nature in ways that foster mindful reflection, restore mental health, and strengthen communities. Rooted in research and engagement, the design responds to the cultural history and urban and social fabric surrounding the park as well as its former use as a burial ground for the Brooklyn Naval Hospital. A lush environment supporting pollinator habitat and structured by a meandering boardwalk offers immersion and respite for city-dwellers. A process informed by purposeful restraint led to the creation of a design aesthetic that promotes respite and remembrance – a floating river in a sea of grasses.
Visitors pass through the gate of the Naval Cemetery Landscape and are immediately transported to a quiet and peaceful place removed from the surrounding urban environment. Within the park, the Memorial Meadow, Amphitheater, and Sacred Grove, all connected by a sinuous black locust boardwalk. The perimeter of the site is lined with native trees and shrub species that screen views of buildings and the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. This immersion in the natural world allows visitors to engage in soft fascination, reflection, and mindfulness.
Based on the sensitive nature of the former burial ground, a key component of the site design and construction was a restriction from the State Historic Preservation Office that prohibited disturbance of the soil beyond the upper four inches. Working within these constraints, the design team developed a methodology that utilized a precast diamond pier foundation system to support the boardwalk and entry building.
The design and installation of the wildflower meadow likewise responds to the sensitive site. Plants were selected for their seasonal color, form, and complementary textures as well as for their benefit to pollinators and other wildlife. Containing more than 50 species, the Memorial Meadow focuses on the establishment of much needed native plants for the overlooked pollinators critical to the ecological health of the region and needed for the many community gardens surrounding the site. Monarch butterflies, attracted to the Milkweed on which their larvae feed, have been plentiful among the sprawl of wildflowers, which includes pollinator species such as Bee Balm, Goldenrod, Purple coneflower, Mountain Mint, and Brown-Eyed Susan.
The meandering pathway provides a sense of peace and respite when wandering the site. An intersecting axis of granite blocks pays homage to the industrial past of the Navy Yard, offers a physical marker for those buried on site, and provides an additional opportunity to experience the meadow. The river-like boardwalk meanders above a sea of native grasses of the meadow, it then passes through a grove of native Black Cherry trees that provide a sense of enclosure and natural shelter. A wooden bench provided by NatureSacred contains a small notebook for visitors to the Naval Cemetery Landscape to reflect and record their thoughts. Numerous notebooks have been filled with open messaged of gratitude and healing.
Social scientists are using the site, notes, and recordings to research the positive benefits of access to nature on the mental and physical well-being of the people who visit the site, and the impacts of our urban environment on people. Sponsored by a NatureSacred, the data from the project and collected notes will contribute to a growing body of research that demonstrates the important role landscape immersion plays in the development of human intelligence, social and emotional capabilities, and the capacity for regeneration and healing.
This understated landscape quietly evokes the histories of settlement and cultivation, life and death, while slowing the heart rate and connecting visitors with the stories of the site. The park naturally builds community as it hosts yoga, meditation, bee-keeping, and ecology classes while providing an opportunity for visitors to engage with the seasonal changes of the meadow. It engages the public in the importance of pollinator habitat in the urban environment, symbolically attracting many forms of life to a place that has historically commemorated death.