Oculus - Fall 2016 - 20

Conceal and Reveal: Hills with Magical Views Recycled debris and granite blocks are the bedrock of the new Hills on Governors Island ©Claire Wilson ©Noah Devereaux ©Claire Wilson one block over (clockwise from left) The Scramble on Outlook Hill, Slide Hill, and view of the Statue of Liberty between the Hills. BY CLAIRE WILSON S keptics called it "the crazy hill idea." They liked the concept of dramatic changes to the topography of Governors Island, but said it couldn't be done. Engineering problems, they predicted. Cost issues. Maintenance concerns. In July, six years after the completion of the master plan and a year ahead of schedule, the Trust for Governors Island officially opened the Hills, four mounds of largely recycled materials that are the centerpiece of the former military base. Designed by Adriaan Geuze of the Rotterdam-based urban design and landscape architecture firm West 8, with NYC-based Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, the new man-made landscape delivers marvelous views of the Lower New York Bay, a close-up of the Statue of Liberty, and a lush greensward for visitors to get lost in. The four masses - Grassy Hill, Discovery Hill, Outlook Hill, and Slide Hill (named for four slides that snake down its slope) - were built on a 10-acre expanse of what had been mostly parking lot, using fill and recycled debris from demolished island buildings. They also sit on the man-made part of the island, created with debris from the construction of the Lexington Avenue subway in the early 1900s. As the hills progressed, they required constant geotechnical monitoring for settlement and stability, according to Jamie Maslyn Larson, RLA, ASLA, principal and partner in West 8's New York office. Topsoil is in the mix, and the whole confection is held together with mechanical stabilization. Runoff also had to be carefully managed on the Hills, which are effectively a system of microclimates with varying wind conditions, rainfall amounts, threats from salt water, and sun exposure. Erosion control fabric covers vulnerable spots in the landscape until the 41,000 new shrubs, 860 new trees, and multiple varieties of grasses take root and further ensure the slopes' stability, according to Kim Mathews, RLA, ASLA, principal, Mathews Nielsen. At one point, Outlook Hill, the highest of the four at 70 feet, was deemed too tall and heavy. Ten feet was removed from the top, and heavy sand, silt, and gravel were replaced with lightweight but durable pumice from Greece. That was an expensive but necessary addition to a project whose very design was dictated to some degree by what materials were on hand and the prohibitive cost of carting away debris. Likewise, handsome reclaimed granite seawall blocks were repurposed into a stone step installation called the Scramble that invites children and adults to climb to the top of Outlook Hill. The blocks also support the slides on Slide Hill and make up the Stonehenge-like arrangements on the lawn below the haunting Cabin, the concrete reverse cast of a shed by Rachel Whiteread. Looking back, Leslie Koch, former president of the Trust for Governors Island, admits that even she thought the whole hill thing was a bit, well, crazy. But with 500,000 visitors expected this year, she is more than happy with the result of the crazy plan. "It more than exceeds my expectations," she says. "And they were very high." Claire Wilson is a New York-based freelance writer. 20 Oculus Fall 2016 Authenticity + Innovation: Architecture Repurposed

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Fall 2016

First Words Letter from the President
Letter from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
Opener: Authenticity and Innovation
Civic Purpose Repurposed: Brooklyn
Civic Purpose Repurposed: Bronx
A Study in Contrasts
WeLive on Wall Street
A Preservation Paradox
Industrial Strength
Innovation Rooted in History
In Print
97-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Fall 2016 - cover1
Oculus - Fall 2016 - cover2
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 3
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 4
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 5
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 6
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 7
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 8
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 9
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 10
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 11
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 12
Oculus - Fall 2016 - First Words Letter from the President
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 14
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Letter from the Editor
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 16
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 17
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Center for Architecture
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 19
Oculus - Fall 2016 - One Block Over
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 21
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 22
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 23
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 24
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Opener: Authenticity and Innovation
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Civic Purpose Repurposed: Brooklyn
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 27
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Civic Purpose Repurposed: Bronx
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 29
Oculus - Fall 2016 - A Study in Contrasts
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 31
Oculus - Fall 2016 - WeLive on Wall Street
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 33
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 34
Oculus - Fall 2016 - A Preservation Paradox
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 36
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 37
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Industrial Strength
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 39
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 40
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 41
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Innovation Rooted in History
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 43
Oculus - Fall 2016 - In Print
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 97-Year Watch
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 46
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Last Words
Oculus - Fall 2016 - Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 49
Oculus - Fall 2016 - 50
Oculus - Fall 2016 - cover3
Oculus - Fall 2016 - cover4