• One of the many deteriorating buldings that exist within Gateway.

    Credit: Alexander Brash/NPCA

    One of the many deteriorating buldings that exist within Gateway.

The Van Alen Institute, the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Preservation, and Planning, and the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) announced on June 5 the winners of “Envisioning Gateway,” an international competition to generate ideas about the future of the 26,607-acre Gateway national park in New York and New Jersey, which has not been well maintained. Launched in January, the competition drew 230 entries from 23 countries.

Brooklyn, N.Y.–based designers Ashley Kelly and Rikako Wakabayashi won the $15,000 first prize for “Mapping the Ecotone: Connecting Cities and Nature,” a project that calls for a park within a park to bring together the different habitats and landforms of the larger national recreation area. (Part of Kelly and Wakabayashi's proposal is shown on the opposite page.)

Toronto-based North Design Office took home second prize and a $10,000 cash award for its entry, “Reassembling Ecologies: Consolidate Recreation and Restore Habitats.” The team of Laurel McSherry, Terry Surjan, Rob Holmes, and Paul Kelsch from Virginia Tech placed third and received $5,000 for “Marks: Experience Park History.”

  • A winning design: Ashley Kelly and Rikako Wakabayashi's proposal for Gateway, Mapping the Ecotone: Connecting Cities and Nature, emphasizes that the national recreation area is equal parts water and land.

    Credit: Van Allen Institute

    A winning design: Ashley Kelly and Rikako Wakabayashi's proposal for Gateway, "Mapping the Ecotone: Connecting Cities and Nature," emphasizes that the national recreation area is equal parts water and land.

Established in 1972 as the country's first national recreation area, Gateway spans three boroughs—Queens, Brooklyn, and Staten Island—as well as Sandy Hook in New Jersey. In May, the NPCA rated the park—which contains wildlife habitats, public beaches, and numerous culturally and historically significant structures—the lowest among 28 national parks being assessed.

Learn more about Gateway, the competition, and the winning entries—and vote for your favorite proposal—at www.npca.org/gateway.