THE ENCLOSED FOREST
About the Project
Until the mid-1960’s, the Brooklyn Navy Yard served as an industrial ground for the U.S. Navy. After years of dormancy and neglect, the Navy Yard is undergoing significant restoration and transformation into an innovative business district. In 2017 Crye Precision, manufacturer of premiere military clothing, signed 20 year lease of a restored ship-building hanger in the BNY. Crye sought to create a landscape feature within the space that would inspire its workforce.
The Enclosed Forest re-imagines the atrium of Crye’s headquarters as an immersive horticultural intervention. Inspired by the characteristics of Northeastern forests, the design re-interprets the experience of wandering through those outdoor spaces – variable topography, cascading light, and diverse vegetation – and adapts it to Crye’s industrial workspace.
The Enclosed Forest is located in the entry atrium space, which acts as the main point of access to the production and office spaces. Upon entering the building, the visitor is given the option of meandering through a series of interconnecting gravel paths within the forest, or proceeding alongside it. The landscape’s relationship to the surrounding architecture and the interplay between steel structure, glass and layers of green texture, emphasizes contrasts – stable and dynamic, orderly and unpredictable.
Within the facility, the forest remains visible from many occupiable zones. From the cafeteria, the forest reads as a canopy – diffusing sun and light from the LED fixtures. From the catwalk above, the forest is a courtyard garden, which can be taken in on the way to a meeting.
The introduction of light was critical to the design. Prior to the installation, the designers’ studio was used to create a “planting laboratory” to test the effects of various types of light, and simulate both the visual impact, as well as plant development over time. The landscape design team worked with a light fixture manufacturer to customize output and define ideal wavelength spectrum for the selected fixture heads.
A broad range of perennial and tropical ferns make up the planting palette of the forest floor. Tropical trees, up to 25’ tall, were selected for their ability to thrive in the enclosed space, as well as for the interplay of their leaf form.
Now that plants have established in the terrain, both Crye and the design team have been able to witness the temporal nature of the forest. Plants have begun to migrate across the mounds and concrete block seating, occupying areas where soil was previously bare. Seedlings have taken root. Dynamism permeates the atrium space, imbuing both a sense of wonder and tranquility.
Building 128 (Brooklyn Navy Yard, NY)
Visioning, rendering, consultant coordination, material selection, plant selection, boulder selection, construction management, planting & irrigation, on-going care of landscape
Custom soil mixture, mixture of tropical and native species, in-house “plant laboratory”