FBW | February 22, 2023
In its submission to the City of Hoboken, the New York City-based firm, Dattner Architects, proposed for the Union Dry Dock site a “range of ideas . . . from infrastructural needs such as parking and multi-modal safety; to built architectural needs ranging from restrooms, snack stands and pavilions to a new anchor restaurant, museum, or institute; to programmed recreational and ecological study areas; to the potential for berthing visiting floating exhibitions and ships.”
The City awarded a $1.17 million contract to Dattner, approved at the February 15 Hoboken City Council meeting. Dattner offered to provide architecture, urban planning, engagement and project management and assembled a team that included SCAPE for landscape design, Indigo River for marine engineering, and Kimley-Horn for civil and transportation engineering. Dattner won out over 16 other firms, including a number of landscape architects, that submitted proposals in response to the City’s December 2022 RFP (Request for Proposals).
Dattner’s wide-ranging ideas for a mere 3.15 acres of land, fortunately, were scaled back somewhat as the City requested the removal of significant architectural design such as a museum or restaurant from the scope of work. In mid-January, the Fund for a Better Waterfront (FBW) communicated its concerns to the City about the RFP’s suggestion for revenue-generating uses that could privatize portions of the park and the many and various ideas that could lead to a park space that is over-programmed.
There is a long list of building projects featured on Dattner’s website but just three park projects: the Children’s Adventure Garden in Dallas, Texas (2013), two segments of Hudson River Park in New York City (2007) and Riverbank State Park also in New York City (1993). SCAPE, the landscape architecture firm that is part of Dattner’s team, however, has completed a long list of park projects. SCAPE gained much recognition for its Rebuild by Design Living Breakwaters in Staten Island, New York. SCAPE was also part of the Hoboken/Hudson River Rebuild by Design team.
Citing SCAPE’s experience, Dattner exclaimed that Union Dry Dock was “an opportunity to explore new ways to engage and interact with the water and potentially new types of shorelines—get-downs, artificial beaches, tidal shelves, living shorelines, eco-revetments, eco-piers, and others.”