Latrobe Prize supports plan to transform upper New York Harbor

By Carlos Fernandez
July 01, 2007

One of the most coveted prizes in architecture was awarded in March to a team of Princeton architects and engineers for an ambitious plan to transform the Upper Bay of New York Harbor.

The Latrobe Prize, a $100,000 purse awarded every other year by the American Institute of Architects, went to Princeton’s Center for Architecture, Urbanism and Infrastructure. The winning project team is led by Guy Nordenson, professor of architecture and affiliated professor of civil and environmental engineering, and includes James Smith, professor of civil and environmental engineering and an expert in urban hydrology.

The team’s plan is to rethink the relationship between the urban infrastructure and the ecology of the upper harbor, developing a plan for a waterfront Central Park of the 21st century.

Smith’s role is to assess the potential hazards of restructuring the area into a grand public space. “It is a complex ecosystem that has been dramatically altered for several hundred years by human activities,” he said. “Restructuring it will require a great deal of sensitivity.”