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CULTURE
Reinventing Grand Army Plaza
by Tamara Warren
on 29 September 2008
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by Tamara Warren

Grand Army Plaza, the main entrance to Brooklyn's Prospect Park, sprawls across 11 acres in a landscaped oval. With regal statues and a sparkling fountain, it's majestic and — its function as a busy traffic circle separates the cultural landmark from the surrounding pedestrian sidewalks — inaccessible.

Reinventing Grand Army Plaza is an exhibit that highlights the visions of 30 top entrants for a landscape design that enhances the plaza's use for contemporary Brooklyn life. Organized by a coalition between the nonprofit Design Trust for Public Space and the Grand Army Plaza Coalition, the designs were unveiled in a ceremony with Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz on 13 September and are on display through 13 October.

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The winning submissions resulted in a tie between the acc&s2 team from Nantes, France for "Canopy," a design based on the use of connecting roofs and Parisians Guillaume Derrien and Gauthier le Romancer for "Please Wake Me Up," which allots for a large, market square. "Urban Stripes," by Vincent Hertenberger and Andras Jambor from Paris, France received second prize and Garrison Architects from Brooklyn, NY received third place for their entry, "A Center for Brooklyn."

You can still voice your opinion by voting in the People's Choice awards which is open through 5 October 2008.

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Grand Army Plaza was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (who favored it over his more famous work, Central Park) and Calvert Vaux in 1867, long before the automobile was a city planning issue and was originally called Prospect Park Plaza. Renamed in 1926, Grand Army Plaza's highlights include the Baily Fountain created by sculptor Eugene Francis Savage.

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