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April 17, 2017

West Side Sanitation Garage and Salt Shed Receive Top Environmental Sustainability Award From AIA’s COTE

Ian Michaels

Long Island City, NY – Commissioner Feniosky Peña-Mora of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) announced today that the Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Garage and Spring Street Salt Shed have been selected by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) to receive a 2017 COTE Top Ten Award. The honor is the industry’s best-known awards program for sustainable design excellence, recognizing innovative projects that set the highest standard in environmental sustainability. DDC managed the project for the NYC Department of Sanitation (DOS).

“This award represents DDC’s efforts to carry out Mayor de Blasio’s vision for a more sustainable and more resilient City,” said Commissioner Peña-Mora. “We also create projects that enhance the beauty of neighborhoods, seeing beyond the utilitarian nature of a structure so that even a sanitation garage and municipal salt shed can become local landmarks. We are very gratified to see our efforts be so well received by the buildings’ end users, by the design community, the environmental community, and by local residents.”

The Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Garage and the Spring Street Salt Shed
The Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Garage sits immediately to the north of the Spring Street Salt Shed on Manhattan’s West Side (NYCDDC)

The selection jury noted that the project “raises the bar for a municipal sanitation building to the status of an excellent civic structure in the heart of the City,” and that the salt shed is an “unexpected sculptural element, creating visual interest in an industrial context and demonstrating investment in an underserved neighborhood.”

The garage and salt shed were previously selected by the Municipal Arts Society of New York as the winner of the Society’s 2016 MASterworks Award for Best New Building. The New York Times in December 2015 called the buildings “two of the best examples of new public architecture in the City.” The Spring Street Salt Shed has also won the AIA New York Architecture Honor Award; the AIA New York State Design Award for Excellence; the NYC Art Commission Design Award 2011; the Concrete Industry Board (CIB) Roger H. Corbetta Award, Public Works; and the SARA NY Design Award for Sustainability.

The 425,000-square-foot Manhattan Districts 1/2/5 Garage houses three district garages from which local Manhattan Community Board districts 1, 2, and 5 receive garbage collection, street cleaning, and snow removal services. The structure accommodates over 150 Sanitation vehicles and includes facilities for DSNY personnel.

This LEED Gold certified structure, designed by Dattner Architects, boasts sustainable features including a glazed curtain wall façade and 2,600 custom perforated metal fins that reduce solar heat gain and glare while filtering natural light into the space. A 1.5-acre green roof is home to 25 distinct drought-resistant plant species. Harvested rainwater collected from the roof is used as graywater in the building and for truck washing. The building also operates on municipal steam, meaning no fuels burn to heat the structure.

Extensive airflow modeling during design proved that air flow quantities could be reduced by a factor of eight during periods of reduced truck activity, maintaining clean air levels while significantly reducing heating and fan energy, the two greatest end uses of energy in the facility. Steam absorption chillers provide air conditioning in the personnel offices and locker rooms. A 275 kW extracting turbine generator, powered through the step-down process from the high-pressure steam service to the working pressure steam used in the building, further reduces grid loads. Over 41 percent of architectural materials in the garage are composed of recycled content.

The Spring Street Salt Shed was designed to look like the crystalline structure of a salt particle. Underneath, the structure is highly resilient and designed to withstand possible flooding from future storms that may affect the nearby Hudson River. A light color roof paver was chosen for the building to help reduce the heat island effect.

In September 2016 the salt shed even played a role at New York Fashion Week, when designer Heron Preston and DOS selected it as the location to display to present Preston’s new line of clothing based on repurposed DSNY uniforms and upcycled clothing. The 6,300-square-foot salt shed’s angled concrete walls provided a unique venue for the show, which allowed attendees behind-the-scenes access to the facility that houses tons of rock salt that the DOS uses on City streets during winter storms.

The Spring Street Salt Shed during fashion week
The Spring Street Salt Shed hosts a fashion display during NY Fashion Week in September 2016 (NYCDDC)

About the NYC Department of Design and Construction
The Department of Design and Construction is the City’s primary capital construction project manager. In supporting Mayor de Blasio’s lenses of growth, sustainability, resiliency, equity and healthy living, DDC provides communities with new or renovated public buildings such as such as firehouses, libraries, police precincts, new or upgraded roadways, sewers, water mains in all five boroughs. To manage this $15 billion portfolio, DDC partners with other City agencies, architects and consultants, whose experience bring efficient, innovative, and environmentally-conscious design and construction strategies to city projects. For more information, please visit