It’s no secret: New Yorkers are lovers of parks and green space. Building on a legacy of large public park projects starting with Central Park and Prospect Park, recent initiatives have looked at adaptive reuse– creating parks on old rail tracks like the High Line, on rooftops and in the foreseeable future, underground in the form of the Lowline. When plans for a futuristic 2.7 acre park off Pier 55 was announced in 2014, it seemed like another evolution of a long line of public space activism.
Image via Pier55, Inc./Heatherwick Studio. Renderings by Luxigon.
The concept, and the money behind the concept, comes from media mogul Barry Diller, and his wife, Diane von Furstenberg. The design is by Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio of London, who is known for the Learning Hub in Singapore, London’s Garden Bridge, The UK Pavilion at Expo 2010 and a host of other innovative projects. A current exhibit about Heatherwick, “Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio,” is on view at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.
A view looking out from the Pier 55 exhibit room, Heatherwick Studio’s vast array of projects
The large, open space of the third floor gives way to many of his projects and accomplishments from a boat made from its hull, to a park in the desert, many stunning and unusual bridges, and an amazing solution to putting a sculpture next to an ugly building. There are even handbags, which were designed for Longchamp.
Model of the 2.7 acre pier, which as you can see is really an island unto itself
Included in the exhibit is a room filled with models and renderings for the much talked about Hudson River Park Pier 55. This new public park will be a venue for music, dance, theatre, public art and community events. Construction is expected to commence in 2016. Here are a few of the images from the exhibit that caught our eye.
The park will rise as high as 62 feet, giving it an open view of the city near 13th Street
In this rendering, you can see several smaller performance areas, as well as park space
On view, a close-up of the design underside of the pier
The 875-foot pier, which has been shuttered for years, was where the survivors of the Titanic were brought in 1912. Its neighboring Pier 54 was once one of New York’s busiest shipping centers at the turn of the 20th century. The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation has committed at least $113 million toward this project, which is projected to cost about $130 million. This is the largest donation to a public park in New York City’s history, however the project is not without controversy.
Model of Pier 55, showing the 700 seat amphitheater and other performance areas
When you arrive on the third floor of the Cooper Hewitt exhibit, you are greeted by a large mechanical device, with circular rows of paper. You are welcome and encouraged to crank-out a thumbnail sketch of the exhibit, which will only be on view through January 3, 2016.
Greeting you at the entrance, various size rolls of paper stacked high, with printed itinerary of the exhibit
You are welcome to crank and cut your own itinerary
The exhibit, “Provocations: The Architecture and Design of Heatherwick Studio” was organized by the Nasher Sculpture Center. Cooper Hewitt is located at 2 East 91st Street, on Fifth Avenue. Next up for the Heatherwick Studio is a collaborative project in Hudson Yards.
Take advantage of being on Museum Mile while on a visit, and see the latest at the Museum of the City of New York. Take a walk to El Barrio’s historic murals, and the famous Graffiti Wall of Fame here. You still have time to view the Moshe Safdie exhibit at the National Academy here and . Have lunch at the oldest family owned diner in NYC right here. Get in touch with the author at AFineLyne.