2019 Award of Excellence

General Design

Domino Park

Williamsburg, Brooklyn 

Landscape Architect:

James Corner Field Operations

fieldoperations.net

Project Team:

Philip Habib and Associates

McLaren Engineering Group

Robert Silman Associates

Noë & Associates

Mark Reigelman

About the Project:

Inspired by community input and the site’s rich history, Domino Park reconnects the Williamsburg neighborhood to the East River for the first time in 160 years. The five-acre park offers a range of activities: beach volleyball, a playground, a dog run, a taco stand, water features, lawns and plentiful seating. The park celebrates the history of one of New York’s most iconic industrial waterfront sites by integrating over 30 large-scale salvaged relics, including 21 original columns from the Raw Sugar Warehouse, gantry cranes, screw conveyors and syrup tanks. It functions as a resilient and absorbent sponge and the neighborhood’s first line of defense against super storms. Since its opening, Domino Park has become a magnet, embraced by the diverse community it serves. 

Special Factors

Domino Park reconnects the community to the waterfront and provides much-needed open space for local residents, while honoring and celebrating its industrial working waterfront history. As the first phase of the transformation of the 11-acre former Domino Sugar Factory site into an ambitious mixed- use development project by Two Trees Management, the park represents a commitment to deliver 6- acres of public open space to the North Williamsburg community. The overall project buildout includes the adaptive reuse of the Landmarked Refinery Building for creative office space and four new mixed- use residential buildings that will house 700 units of affordable housing. 

The extension of River Street through the site was a critical move to reconnect the park to the city grid and deepen its sense of publicness, rather than being perceived as a private front lawn. The park capitalizes on the expanse of the East River, the sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and Williamsburg Bridge and offers a range of park activities organized into the following three areas: 

  • Active Recreation Park (S. 5th St. to S. 3rd St.) – located near the Williamsburg Bridge including a dog run, bocce courts, flexible playing field and beach volleyball; 
  • Water Plaza (S. 3rd St. to S. 2nd St.) – the heart of the park and central gathering space including the Fountain with 88 programmable jets, Seating Steps, Syrup Tank Garden and Fog Bridge; 
  • Passive Recreation Park (S. 2nd St. to Grand St.) – located near Grand Ferry Park including a picnic area, Tacocina, taco stand, a unique artist-designed playground, large rolling lawn and sundeck. 

The “Artifact Walk” integrates over 30 large-scale salvaged relics – components of the inner workings of sugar refining – including 21 original columns from the Raw Sugar Warehouse that support the elevated walkway, the 80-foot tall gantry cranes, screw conveyors, mooring bollards and syrup tanks. 

The park materials are inspired by the tough, industrial character of the Williamsburg waterfront including weathered steel, galvanized and stainless steel, concrete and reclaimed wood from the factory itself. A sustainable, robust and primarily native plant palette defines the series of programmatic rooms throughout the park and contributes to coastal resilience including nearly 175 trees such as Black Gum, White Swamp Oak and Sweetgum, along with hardy grasses and perennials such as Switchgrass, Little Bluestem, Pennsylvania Sedge, Goldenrod, Aster, and Foam Flower.