Many of you have been getting into work by Marpillero Pollak Architects, info about East New York, and all the interesting happenings over at the Architectural League. If you fall smack dab in the overlap of that Venn diagram, then take a look at this podcast.
Last month, as part of the League’s New York Designs lecture series, Linda Pollak and Sandro Marpillero discussed their recent design of two Learning Gardens, one at the Whitestone Branch of the Queens Public Library and one at the Stone Avenue Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library in East New York. The gardens were constructed as part of the Horticultural Society of New York’s GreenBranches program. In Linda and Sandro’s words:
The Horticultural Society of New York’s GreenBranches Program – in public-private partnership with Queens and Brooklyn library systems – constructs and maintains Learning Gardens in underutilized outdoor spaces at branch libraries. The program enables libraries – which have been called the last remaining truly public institutional spaces – to realize the potential of long-derelict sites as public outdoor program space.
The gardens, which are primarily intended to function as space for educational programming and library workshops, also benefit the neighborhood at large. The fences, once barriers, now offer places for social interaction, activating the boundary between these beloved neighborhood institutions and the streets that surround them. And they didn’t wait around for a ribbon cutting to start offering social benefits. The projects employed members of the GreenTeam, a transitional work program for recently released inmates that provides vocational training. And as for the immediate community of each library, GreenBranches and Marpillero Pollak involved them throughout the entire process, giving the garden’s users a strong sense of pride and ownership of the site.