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Who knew salt sheds could be architecture porn? These seemingly mundane municipal structures have become the source of photographic inspiration for many. And here at Untapped Cities, we’ve been on the lookout for them since 2009 when we ended up poking (trespassing) inside one in Sunset Park.

In light of the Bomb Cyclone that’s blasting the East Coast, we thought we’d take a look at a few of New York City’s unique salt sheds, which provide a steady supply of road salt for snowy days.

8. DSNY Salt Shed

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Earlier this year, we had a chance to visit the New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY)’s garage and salt shed complex in Hudson Square, Tribeca. Designed by WXY  architecture + urban design and Dattner Architects, it currently serves 300,000 residents in Manhattan Community Districts 1, 2, and 5, and has been rewarded for for its excellence in environmental sustainability.

Adjacent to the garage building is a 70-foot, architecturally stunning, crystalline shaped salt shed. With a price tag of $20 million, this 5000-ton capacity shed has a few fascinating features that distinguish it from the other salt sheds around the city that are stocked throughout the winter. While the salt crystal shape of the structure is a remarkable piece of public art that puts all other salt sheds to shame, the unorthodox design actually stems from engineering work. The walls of the shed are taller on the side facing the water, allowing for the salt to settle at its natural slanted angle of 32 degrees, also called angle of repose. This unique way of storage allows for trucks to drive up one side, dump salt more conveniently onto the mound, which will then settle in its own stable way.

Furthermore, the doors of this first fully enclosed shed of DSNY are a whopping 35 feet tall and 24 feet wide, allowing for easy access for trunks moving in and out of the shed. The interior walls are lined with metal plating to prevent damage from the constant stream of trucks. With six-feet thick walls, it’s also safe to assume that no severe storm will be damaging the building and tarnishing the salt. Read more about the salt shed and garage here.

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