Posted by Anthony Deen and David Briggs

When Clemson School of Architecture assistant professor David Lee needed to find a challenging and dynamic project for his summer studio, he had to look no further than the Gowanus Canal.

David has run a “vertical” studio over the past several summers bringing undergraduate and graduate students from Clemson University in South Carolina to New York City to design a project for a real world site - an entire semesters work in only four weeks.

In setting up this summer’s studio David came across the Gowanus by Design web site and found all the resources he needed to start his student’s research. He contacted David Krieger the managing director of the GCCDC to find candidate building sites along the canal for his student architects. They pointed out the red brick building on the corner of Smith and 9th street where GCCDC is hoping to establish a science and conservation center.

Gowanus by Design founders David Briggs and Anthony Deen arranged with the Gowanus Dredgers to give David and his 18 students a tour from the canal point of view. Although a little concerned about the toxicity levels in the water the intrepid students rowed from the Dredgers’ launch site up to the pumping station and then all the way down to the opening of the Gowanus Bay and back. As it turned out the water was exceptionally clear that day and we could even see varieties of fish swimming by the Dredgers’s landing.

The students also had a walking tour of the canal, Bond Street and Carroll Gardens featuring dinner on Smith Street to get some true local flavor. Now it’s time to get into their studio and starting working on designs for the canal museum and science center. We can’t wait to see the final designs!