Designing the essential and the unseen

A large geometric concrete structure sits on the busy corner of Canal and West Streets in Lower Manhattan. Passersby wondering at its function may guess it’s a museum, or an art gallery. Few are likely to hit on the reality: a salt shed. And that was exactly the intent, says Richard Dattner ’60, lead designer of the project. 

“Our job was to design what is really a mundane box holding 5,000 tons of salt—but to design it for one of the most important corners in New York City,” he says. “In the end, it turned out the way the city wanted it—iconic, enigmatic, and somewhat mysterious.” 

Completed in 2015, the salt shed was the most recent project that Dattner, now 82, led for his firm Dattner Architects. It caps a legacy that includes such essential but often unnoticed infrastructure elements as water treatment facilities, sludge dewatering plants, marine transfer stations

Read More