Oculus - Winter 2013 - (Page 35)

feature A Tale of Two Piers Two NYC piers in very different settings pose similar challenges for the design teams redeveloping them B Y J O N AT H AN LERN ER ntil now, New York City's late-life love affair with the waterfront has found mainly residential and recreational expression. But the romance is extending to retail and entertainment uses on a large scale with the redevelopment of Piers 17 and 57. Something similar was tried before: the 1985 South Street Seaport festival marketplace on the East River's Pier 17 - perhaps fresh at first, but a long-term flop. "It was a very different city back then; the whole thing was designed as a safe haven," says SHoP Architects Principal Gregg Pasquarelli, AIA, whose firm is designing its replacement. It "hid the dirtiness of the adjacent Fulton Fish Market with the cleanliness of suburban chain stores." The building's inward focus failed to recognize the growing appreciation of the "grittiness, the waterfront industrial tectonics that are kind of interesting and fun to connect to," Pasquarelli says. Both redesigns - by SHoP of Pier 17 for developer The Howard Hughes Corporation and by LOT-EK of Pier 57 on the Hudson River for Youngwoo & Associates - intend the opposite: integration with the city, openness to the rivers, an au courant program. Though the two sites are distinct, the projects have much in common: the tensions between public and quasi-public space, the challenge of engaging New Yorkers as well as tourists, and the problem of integrating huge buildings, now cut off by highways, with their nearby streetscapes. U "Culture, Cargo, Chaos" Pier 57, completed in 1954 at the foot of West 15th Street, has a unique history. It is supported not by the usual wood pilings, but by three enormous hollow concrete caissons, each measuring roughly 360 by 85 feet and about 30 feet high. The caissons were fabricated 40 miles upriver, then floated down the Hudson and sunk into place. (Intriguing factoid: The structure's designer, civil engineer Emil Praeger, who did the Tappan Zee Bridge with a similar foundation, had earlier conceived floating concrete breakwaters used in the 1944 Normandy invasion.) Pier 57 functioned as a freight and passenger terminal through the 1960s, then as an MTA bus shed until 2003. Another curiosity: Some 1,800 protesters arrested at the 2004 Republican National Convention were interned on Pier 57 for several days, dubbing it "Guantanamo on the Hudson." It is currently being reinvented as "SuperPier" - tagline: "Culture, Cargo, Chaos" - a festival marketplace tuned to the zeitgeist of now. The pier shed's two cavernous levels measure 750 by 150 feet with 25-foot ceilings. Their dominant interior motif will be the shipping container - 430 of them, stacked and staggered, christened "Incuboxes." Combinable or divisible into spaces from 40 to 3,000 square feet - with monthly rents starting at $600 - they are meant for several cat- ©LOT-EK, Courtesy of SuperPier (below) SuperPier will include 430 stacked and staggered shipping containers, dubbed "Incuboxes," that can be divided and combined into spaces from 40 to 3,000 square feet for a variety of tenants. The Fun Factor: Visitors + Vistas Winter 2013 Oculus 35

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Winter 2013

First Words Letter from Two Presidents
A Word from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: Designing – and Defi ning – a Moment in Time
Lounging Around
Warmer Welcomes
Eat, Drink, and Wear the Brand
Architecture Tourism: New York City’s Waterfront – and Beyond
Waterside Oasis
Development Does DUMBO
A Tale of Two Piers
Healing Buildings to Heal a City Once Again
In Print
127-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Winter 2013