Brooklyn Bridge Park Wins Rosa Barba Prize

John Hill
1. October 2021
Brooklyn Bridge Park

The Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, has been named the winner of the 2021 Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize, awarded at the 11th International Biennial of Landscape Architecture Biennial in Barcelona.

Realized over two decades, Brooklyn Bridge Park is the transformation of a formerly industrial waterfront along the East River into a public park for recreation and relaxation. In addition to providing what the Biennial calls "a vibrant public space" on the site of "abandoned warehouses, obsolete piers, and decaying bulkheads," the park design by MVVA restores ecological diversity and sometimes blurs the edges between park and river.

Over one mile long, Brooklyn Bridge Park stretches from Pier 6 near Brooklyn Heights on the south up to Jay Street in Dumbo on the north, going under the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge in between. The park reuses five of the old industrial piers for a mix of sports, play, and other activities; Pier 1, pictured above, "is a destination for romantic interludes," according to the architects. One part of the park features a large berm to shield park-goers from an adjacent expressway, while another portion of the park is home to Jane's Carousel, a restored amusement park carousel inside an enclosure designed by Jean Nouvel.

The Medellín River Parks, designed by Sebastian Monsalve Gomez and Juan David Hoyos Taborda, received a Mention from the jury. The Biennial describes the project as "an urban park made up of quality Public spaces that integrates Medellín River corridor, the structuring systems of Medellín and the Metropolitan Area with urban activity."

Landscape projects in the running for the Rosa Barba Prize had to be completed within five years prior to the symposium date. This year's Biennial took place virtually from September 27 to October 2, 2021.

The jury of the 11th Biennial is composed of Esteban Leon (UN-Habitat), Cristina Castel-Branco (University of Lisbon), Kongjian Yu (Turenscape); James Hayter (International Federation of Landscape Architects), and Julie Bargmann (D.I.R.T. studio).

The 11 finalists for the Rosa Barba Prize, with links to the projects on the Biennial website:

Medellín River Parks

In addition to the €15,000 given for the Rosa Barba International Landscape Prize, the jury awarded the International Prize of the Schools to City College of New York. This prize comes with €1,500, an exhibition of student projects, and the display of those projects on the Biennial's website.

The 8 finalists for the Schools Prize:

  • University of Technology Sydney (Australia)
  • Huazhong University of Science and Technology (China)
  • Leibniz University Hannover (Germany)
  • School of Architecture Urban Planning Construction Engineering Politecnico di Milano (Italy)
  • Amsterdam Academy of Architecture (the Netherlands)
  • TUDelft (the Netherlands)
  • City College of New York (United States)
  • Harvard University Graduate School of Design (United States)

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