Rendering of the Spring Street Salt Shed courtesy of Dattner Architects
Summer is coming to a close, and in a few months we’ll be navigating the city’s treacherous streets perfecting our penguin waddles and fine-tuning our black ice magna-vision. This winter season, downtown Manhattan residents may find a sliver of comfort knowing that the rock salt used to mitigate slippery streets will be stored in one of the most grandiose salt sheds on Earth.
Recently unshrouded, the Department of Sanitation’s 67-foot-tall Spring Street Salt Shed flaunts a prismatic concrete facade evoking the intriguing faceted forms of salt crystals. The award-winning design, crafted by the public works masters at Dattner Architects and WXY Architecture + Urban Design, comes with a sizable price tag of $10 million. The structure was crowned the “Taj Mahal of Salt” back in 2010, noting that it cost more than nine recently constructed city salt sheds combined. Nevertheless, even in its unpolished state, we have to admit this riverfront iceberg is pretty captivating. And despite its utilitarian use, its form is well-worthy of its prime Hudson Square locale.
Rising from a 14,600-square-foot triangular site at the heavily-trafficked intersection of Canal Street and the West Side Highway, the 7,700- square-foot structure will replace a shed 19 blocks to the north on the Gansevoort Peninsula. Dattner’s website notes that its impervious crystalline design serves as a counterpoint to a 400-foot-long sanitation garage that endured years of community haggling and opposition. While our rock salt and garbage trucks don’t deserve sunset Hudson River views, the former manufacturing neighborhood did not transform into Little Chernobyl as many locals feared.
The shed’s ‘enigmatic’ form has been likened to salt crystals, a breached ship, an iceberg and a glacier. Its walls taper inward toward street level, creating more sidewalk space for pedestrians. Embedded flakes of mica and protruding glass plugs will play off car headlights, and a four-foot-wide frosted-glass moat set within the pavement will illuminate its flowering facade at night. The 5,000 tons of rock salt to be housed within will be accessible mid-block, along the Holland Tunnel ventilation shaft-facing elevation.
Construction shot from July 2015, via Tribeca Citizen
With winter on its way, the shed’s final pieces are now being put into place. Earlier this month, neighborhood blogger TriBeCa Citizen first announced that some of the structure’s shrouding was being removed, but noted the patchy surface is not the concrete’s final look. A query from the blogger to Dattner uncovered that the concrete has not fully cured to its final color and it will be patched and blended for a uniform finished surface.
The salt shed’s iconic design was born out the Bloomberg Administration’s emphasis on improving the quality of architecture and design for public works projects. The administration’s Design and Construction Excellence program raised the bar for the city’s capital projects and emphasized quality and talent when contracting architects and consultants.
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All renderings courtesy of Dattner Architects
Neighborhoods : Hudson Square