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Competition: Gateways to Chinatown, New York

Contest site: Canal Street Triangle, NYC

The New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) has launched an open international competition for a £700,000 gateway structure in Manhattan’s Chinatown

The competition, backed by the Chinatown Partnership and Van Alen Institute, seeks proposals for a new landmark meeting place and information centre within the historic district’s Canal Street Triangle.

Planned to complete in 2018, the project aims to bring together existing communities in the area, respond to evolving cultural and generational demographics and forge new connections with other gateway sites within the surrounding city and wider world. As part of the initiative, NYC DOT is also planning to deliver a series of temporary installations at six other gateway sites within Chinatown.

According to the brief: ‘The overarching goal of the project is to provide a new marker for Chinatown, Little Italy, and the surrounding neighbourhoods in Lower Manhattan to engender pride of place, foster connectivity and cultural and social identity, and stimulate economic development.

‘Straddling art and architecture, symbolism and function, the new structure and public space aims to become a vibrant place of exchange at the centre of one of New York City’s most dynamic and historically rich areas. Gateways to Chinatown challenges design teams to reimagine the use and layout of this space, create a multifaceted meeting place and information centre, and manage the transformative project from design through construction and installation.’

Contest site: Canal Street Triangle, NYC

Contest site: Canal Street Triangle, NYC

Contest site: Canal Street Triangle, NYC

Located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Chinatown is home to the largest enclave of Chinese people in the Western Hemisphere. The contest site is a triangular traffic island – bounded by Canal Street, Baxter Street and Walker Street – which currently hosts a small information kiosk and five gingko trees.

The contest calls for an ‘engaging, unique, technologically- advanced structure and sustainable public space commensurate with the site’s prominence’. Proposals will be expected to reflect local history and identity and harness contemporary digital and interactive technologies, lighting, media and multidimensional graphic design.

Schemes that integrate innovative wayfinding and green spaces while promoting digital connectivity, cultural identity and social interaction are also encouraged.

The project is funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, through the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation; the Manhattan Borough President’s Office and New York’s City Hall.

The overall winner, to be announced in the autumn, will receive £700,000 to design and deliver their scheme.

The deadline for submissions has been extended to 2pm local time on 30 June.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

David Maco
NYC DOT
Contract Management Unit
55 Water Street
Ground Floor
New York
NY 10041

Tel: (212) 839-9400
Email: dmaco@dot.nyc.gov