Collect Pond: The Urban Backstage
Led by Elliott Maltby and Theo Barbagianis
Saturday June 20, 2015 from 2:30pm-4:30pm
Lower Manhattan, meeting at Capsouto Park
The walk will explore the Urban Backstage in the context of the history of Collect Pond and NYC’s water infrastructure. We will examine the inter-connection of ecological and social histories, the changing perspectives and strategies in relation to water, and the notion of the backstage as it relates to both of these themes. The backstage is where urban residents can rehearse, rather than perform; where proscriptive programming is minimal, allowing for a more individually defined, and perhaps more intimate, use of public space. The backstage is the counterpoint of branded public space, a space to be found and explored, to wonder about, to wander around, a place to speculate. It is a provisional place, one for testing ideas, to practice imperfectly. A survey of New York City backstage spaces demonstrates a common pairing of productive spontaneous ecologies and aging infrastructure. This has led to thinking of the city’s urban infrastructure as another kind of backstage space, where the mechanics of how the city works are generally hidden.
Please bring water and comfortable walking shoes.
Elliott Maltby is also a founding partner of thread collective and an Visiting Associate Professor in the Graduate Architecture and Urban Design program at Pratt Institute. She believes that art and design can improve the sustainability and vitality of urban public space; she is particularly interested in how communities co-opt and transform derelict and peripheral sites throughout New York City. Working both in academic settings and within a collaborative design firm , she is actively engaged in the dialogue of theory and practice. thread’s current work includes lowlands, a design proposal looking at improving the social and ecological performance of the Red Hook Houses’s open space through green infrastructure. Additionally, she has been an active board member of iLAND [interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art Nature and Design] since 2009.
thread collective is an multi-disciplinary design studio in Brooklyn, NY with a strong commitment to sustainability. thread explores the seams between building, art, and landscape, stitching the diverse elements of the built environment to their ecological and social context through innovative design and research. Elliott Maltby has a Master’s in Landscape Architecture with a concentration in urban design; Mark Mancuso and Gita Nandan received Master’s degrees in Architecture. Hybridization is integral to their practice, and the studio has served as a platform for collaboration with a broad range of designers, artists, scientists, and policy makers.
Theo Barbagianis is a Project Engineer for eDesigns Dynaimcs, NY. He performs calculations, modeling, and analyses relating to hydraulics and hydrology and manages the design and construction of green infrastructure projects throughout New York City. His projects include assisting in the design and managing the construction of a treatment wetland in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens, designing a bioretention facility in Bronx River Park in The Bronx, and designing over 20 right-of-way bioswales in the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn. Theo performed research as a graduate student on the use of green infrastructure in urban stormwater management as well as on the spatiotemporal impact of wastewater point sources on nitrogen pollution. Theo has also worked for the NYC Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Wastewater Treatment, where he managed the design and construction of pumping station upgrades throughout the five boroughs. Theo holds a B.S. in Chemical (Environmental) Engineering from the University of Southern California and an M.E. in Civil Engineering, with a focus in environmental engineering and water resources, from The City College of New York. He is also a licensed professional engineer in New York and Connecticut.