Oculus - Winter 2015 - (Page 14)
one block over
The Battery and Beyond
Displaced by 9/11 and battered by Superstorm Sandy, it is finally realizing its place
as Lower Manhattan's premier waterfront oasis BY C LA ire wi L s o n
Oculus Winter 2015
According to Warrie Price, founder and president of The Battery Conservancy, 9/11 and Superstorm Sandy each set back The
Battery's progress five to 10 years. Repairing storm damage at the
Whitehall subway station continues to hinder work; the storm
also influenced changes in the approach to park resilience. The
Tiffany & Co. Woodland Garden, for instance, designed by Rick
Darke, will take 100 years to mature. It is being started from seed
and planted for salt-tolerant root structures.
Despite catastrophic setbacks, long-delayed projects at the
southern tip of Manhattan seem to be coming together in a way
that will enhance how visitors experience The Battery. Pier A,
stalled for decades, opened to the public in 2014 as Pier A Harbor House, a waterfront restaurant with marvelous outdoor seating. H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture was the restoration architect of the 1883 building, which once served as headquarters
for the Department of Docks and Ferries and NYFD fireboats.
At the opposite end, the 1909 Battery Maritime Building,
now home to the Governors Island Ferry, will soon be The
Battery Maritime Hotel. Ismael Leyva Architects designed
the addition, with interiors by I©RAVE. In front of the Staten
Island Ferry terminal, Peter Minuit Plaza was designed by the
Department of Parks & Recreation Manhattan Capital Projects,
with the whimsical New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion by
Construction fences still dot the landscape, but The Battery's
status as a destination seems to be assured. Some 65,000 people
came to ride the SeaGlass Carousel in the first seven weeks of
operation, according to Price, making it as popular as the Statue
of Liberty and One World Trade Center. She beams, "How thrilling is that?"
Claire Wilson is a New York-based freelance writer.
hen the 2000 AIA Guide to New York City called the former
Staten Island Ferry Terminal "the world's most banal portal
to joy," it might have been referring to all of what was known as
Battery Park. Sure, the historic 25-acre swath of Lower Manhattan had great sea breezes and spectacular water views. But it was
little more than a confusing network of tree-shaded asphalt paths
linking a hodgepodge of unrelated government buildings.
Twenty years after the creation of The Battery Conservancy,
the park has a new name - The Battery - to celebrate its renewed
status. It is a destination again, as it was when the New York
Aquarium, then located in the 1808 Castle Clinton, drew 2.5
million people annually between 1896 and 1941, when Robert
Moses shuttered it as part of some grand plan never realized.
It is now a vibrant nature theme park whose gardens and
fountains celebrate the built and natural environment. Its latest
addition, the SeaGlass Carousel, designed by WXY architecture +
urban design, is a nod to the old aquarium, with a pavilion shaped
like a chambered nautilus and iridescent fish swirling to music in
magical lighting. "It is a relaxing kind of aesthetic that intensifies
the reason you go to a park," says Claire Weisz, FAIA, principal of
WXY. "It pulls in views of the park to create a water environment."
WXY also designed the Bosque Fountains inside the
53,000-square-foot Bosque. It was created by Dutch garden
designer Piet Oudolf, whose master plan also includes a bikeway
that links bike paths in Hudson River Park and the East River
Esplanade, and the Battery Urban Farm, a teaching farm complete with beehives.
Oudolf 's Gardens of Remembrance were the first completed
phase of the master plan, which also includes a labyrinth designed by Camino de Paz Labyrinths. Construction begins next
year on Playscape, by BKSK Architects and Starr Whitehouse
Landscape Architects, which is geared to children.
The 1909 Battery Maritime Building and new
addition for the Battery Maritime Hotel.
Reinventing Architecture: Design in a Digital World
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Winter 2015
First Words Letter from Two Presidents
Letter from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: Practical Attitudes
ICE in the River: Cornell Tech’s Center of Connectivity
Restoring – At Least Virtually – One of England’s Greatest Lost Buildings
At the Corner of Past and Present
The Design-Fabrication Dynamic
How Big Data is Reshaping Architecture
Architecture at the Digital Edge
3D for the Defense
Thinking Beyond the Flat Page
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Winter 2015