David Seiter, principal and design director of landscape architecture firm Future Green, describes Red Hook’s ecological origins, his latest projects, and the importance of planning for resiliency as oceans rise.
Why did you choose Red Hook for your offices?
We’re drawn to the quiet of Red Hook, the quality of the light and the amount of sky. We love the openness and the sense of being surrounded by an overgrown urban nature. While we’ve always gravitated towards the city’s industrial fringe, Red Hook is unique given its physical proximity to Manhattan, yet strong spirit of individuality and outsider culture.
What flora are native to Red Hook?
Red Hook is largely artificially-created land. What existed here before was a salt marsh, where you would find Spartina grass and cattails, amongst other tidal estuary plants. The plants that exist in Red Hook now have adapted to the degraded environment we’ve created. There is a great diversity of urban flora prevalent in the vacant lots, sidewalk cracks and abandoned spaces of Red Hook, and most are ecologically beneficial.
What projects are you currently working on in Brooklyn?
We’re putting the final touches on public roof gardens at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and Empire Stores in Brooklyn Bridge Park. In Red Hook, we’ve recently designed gardens for the New York Dock Building (160 Imlay) and King and Sullivan Townhouses.
What are some of the best ways landscape design can shape a neighborhood like Red Hook?
Red Hook is historically prone to flooding, as we ourselves experienced during Hurricane Sandy. With our rising oceans and more intense storm events, Red Hook is increasingly at risk. Landscape architects can help communities design and plan for resiliency through ecological, social and economic interventions.
How have you incorporated landscape design into your offices?
We love plants, and part of the allure of being a design-build firm is that we are actively shaping our own environment. We have a street-side garden of assorted pots, interior plants throughout the design studio and a small nursery where we temporarily stage material for upcoming installations.
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Corcoran Group Real Estate
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Corcoran Group Real Estate