BlueBlock Floating Gardens

Red Hook, Brooklyn

Person standing on a dock of a floating garden on the water
Credit: William Ngo

Sat, October 16th, 2021

12:00am — 4:00pm

Sun, October 17th, 2021

12:00pm — 4:00pm

BlueBlock Gardens are located along the industrial coastal edge of Red Hook, Brooklyn. The urban design firm thread collective partnered with the Resilience Education Training and Innovation Center (RETI) to launch a floating salt marsh archipelago prototype that provides a range of ecological benefits for humans and other species. These tiny ecosystems currently live in Gowanus Bay, floating off the edge of the RETI Center Cool School Barge. The BlueBlock Gardens increase habitat for a broad range of marine life, introduce plant ecologies at engineered urban edges, improve water quality, and serve as platforms for hands-on high school science. Learn how these constructed landscapes are designed specifically for urban coastal conditions and communities, linking positive ecological impacts and sustainable production practices, jobs, and education.

On both Saturday and Sunday, tours will be held at 1pm and 3pm, with the thread collective design team and staff from the RETI Center.

The tour will bring you out onto the barge where you will experience a unique spot in the industrial waterfront of New York. These gardens link to the issues of sea level rise, coastal adaptation, and nature-based solutions to create a more resilient future. We will explain how design and fabrication techniques are employed to create these unique gardens. Elements being developed for the underwater-scape include: biophilic concrete as the anchor on the seafloor and as undulations and indentations integrated into the underside of the garden flotation ring to facilitate subaquatic growth; mussel single-drop stocking for varied marine life; and planted beds suspended in and above the water, providing habitat for mammals, birds, and insects. The biophilic concrete elements are being provided by collaborator Evelyn Tickle. Her proprietary concrete mix is formulated to match the oyster shell and provides early stage nutrition to a range of species, and has been tested and used widely to demonstrable success.

The Gardens are located on a barge and on the waterfront. Surfaces are narrow and may be wet and slippery.

The health and safety of our community is paramount. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination with ID and a mask is required for ALL in-person experiences. See guidelines:

thread collective

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