could ten re-imagined oil tanks form the focal point of a new brooklyn park?

could ten re-imagined oil tanks form the focal point of a new brooklyn park?

since 2015, a team of activists and interdisciplinary professionals have been working to save a cluster of ten decommissioned oil tanks on the brooklyn waterfront. with the structures in imminent danger of being demolished by city authorities, detailed plans have been put forward that would preserve and utilize the tanks for years to come. as part of the proposal, the structures — relics of the area’s industrial past — would be transformed as the focal point of a modern-day park, containing vertical gardens, art and performance spaces, and could even serve as oyster hatcheries.

all images by STUDIO V architecture and ken smith workshop | video by PLANE—SITE



‘through years of research with our environmental team, consultation, and community engagement, we’ve determined that preserving the tanks not only gives the chance to create a dynamic, interactive, and educational public space, it is also the more affordable, safe, practical and sustainable option,’ says stacey anderson and karen zabarsky, the duo leading the charge to save the tanks. to flesh out their ideas, anderson and zabarsky joined forces with architecture firm STUDIO V and landscape architects ken smith workshop.



the team’s proposal maximizes the available green space, while preserving the region’s ecological and industrial heritage. if realized, the project would form part of the adjacent bushwick inlet park, and would work closely with the local community to develop appropriate activities for a range of potential users. in addition to the open space and the programming inside the ten tanks, the plans include the integration of wetlands, a sandy shoreline, and a docking area for boats.



with the tanks now in serious danger of being demolished as part of the city’s plans to clear the site, an online appeal has been set up on so far, more than 1,000 people have signed the petition, with more information available here. produced by PLANE—SITE, a five minute documentary takes a closer look behind the scenes of the initiative and can be viewed at the top of this page.



UPDATE: this project has been shortlisted in the ‘future projects – experimental’ category at the 2019 world architecture festival.



project info:


name: the tanks at bushwick inlet park
co-founders and executive directors: stacey anderson and karen zabarsky
head architect: jay valgora (STUDIO V architecture)
head landscape architect: ken smith (ken smith workshop)

  • It is heartbreaking but we have received news that demolition of The Tanks has commenced. Below is email from The Tanks founders Stacey Anderson and Karen Zabarsky:

    Dear Team Tanks,

    It is with a very heavy heart that we reach out to alert you that the tanks are currently being demolished by the City, a process that started yesterday and will likely carry through the weekend.

    This came as a surprise to us because our communications with officials indicated that we had until the end of the summer, at least. As many of you know though, in a last-ditch effort to turn the tide, we released a short advocacy film, launched a petition, and were meeting with key community groups. In under two weeks we garnered more than 1K+ signatures, a move that showed the strength of our coalition but may have also pushed the City to advance their demolition plans.

    It’s no doubt deeply disappointing that this is the outcome of our incredible efforts and collective creativity. But we can all take solace in the fact that we put up a mighty good fight and that the passion we channeled into this project was time very well spent. Even though there were formidable local forces working against us, the strength of our idea in the global context is irrefutable. Many tanks projects are popping up around the world – we were part of a movement greater than ourselves and have inspired many people.

    Most recently, we were made aware of a municipal project to re-purpose three oil tanks in Tel Aviv, where the designers have been using our renderings to communicate the incredible opportunity at hand. Last month, there was a Tank Festival in the Canary Islands, where artists occupied a former tank for cultural activities. And the list goes on. The conditions and history of this site were highly unique, but maybe there’s the potential to parlay our learnings into something else. Our work won’t be in vain.

    And above all, the strength of our team – so diverse in its expertise but united by our conviction in the project – was the most gratifying thing about this whole endeavor. Words cannot do justice to how grateful we are to all of you for believing in it and dedicating your time and efforts to moving mountains. The chance to work alongside all of you was truly a gift and we look forward to future collaborations.

    To show our gratitude and to celebrate all the incredible things we’ve accomplished together, we’d like to organize a dinner and drinks in the coming month. Stay tuned for dates. Lastly, we’re doing a final press push tomorrow, so please let us know if you have media contacts who should receive the release.

    Tanks for eternity,
    Stacey + Karen

    Recent Press

    Ken Smith says:

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