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Archicritic Praises Brooklyn's 'Elegant' New Recycling Center

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New sanitation facilities are like catnip for NIMBYS (see: Tower o' Garbage and the East 91st Street marine transfer station), but a new recycling facility on the waterfront in Sunset Park is being praised for its design, purpose, and community promises. Designed by starchitect Annabelle Selldorf, the Sims Municipal Recycling Facility will soon open on a rehabilitated pier in the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal. New York Times' archicritic Michael Kimmelman says the new building is "understated, well proportioned and well planned — elegant, actually, and not just for a garbage site." In addition to the recycling facility, the site holds public green spaces and an educational visitors center. Kimmelman is smitten:

The geometry of buildings produced a satisfying suite of courtyards, a mini-cityscape. The broad pitched roof suspended over the main building creates a clerestory for light and air. For visitors, the drama of the architecture unfolds moving through it: a sky-high catwalk linking the visitors center to the main building leads to a bird's-eye view of the mountain of recycling machines. Cranes, trucks and barges disgorge the city's discards below; the machines sort and crush the maelstrom. It's bound to be an awesome spectacle. The center cost $110 million (the design only added about 1 percent to the price tag), and it will sort and process up to 20,000 tons of recyclables per month, all of which will come to the site by barges, eliminating 250,000 miles for sanitation trucks. In keeping with the site, Selldorf used recycled steel and opted for a thinner, less clunky exterior paneling than normally found on warehouses.

The facility was designed years before Hurricane Sandy, but Sims was committed to restoring the pier, thus the complex was built with sea level rise in mind. Using recycled glass and crushed rock from the Second Avenue subway construction, the site was raised four feet above what was required, and it stayed dry when Sandy flooded all of its surroundings.
· A Grace Note for a Gritty Business [NYT]
· Selldorf's Sunset Park Recycling Plant to Open in October [Curbed]