Reimagine the Canals Competition, Phase 2 Proposal

Clare Lyster with Donovan Aranda, Camille Castillo, Dalton Kay and John Leano.

Client and Sponsor: New York Power Authority (NYPA) 
Team: CLUAA with John Ronan Architects and Urban Engineers

The project explores the adaptive reuse of the canal system in wintertime through the design of a dedicated winter recreational landscape in selected stretches of the Erie Canal. Comprising a floating pontoon system, anchored to the canal bed or canal embankments, the project occupies the waterway between November and April each year. During this period, the Erie canal closes to navigation and parts of the canal are dewatered resulting in significantly lower water levels that are safe and manageable. Program ranges from ice skating to pond hockey and from hot tubs to wintertime festivals.  The winterscape is stored in a dry dock when not in use and transported along the canal to a different host location each winter season.

The project reimagines wintertime on the canal by accommodating the activities that used to occur naturally when cold temperatures were more predictable, allowing the canal to freeze in winter. Furthermore, it catalyzes activity in and around canal towns during the months when the canal is typically under utilized by envisioning the waterway as a robust social space from November to March. Now winter on the canal is fun and a time of year to look forward to.

Clare Lyster Urbanism and Architecture (CLUAA) 2023 — Chicago, Illinois