Governors Island’s New 30-Acre Park, Designed by West 8 is Open
Six years in the making, 30 acres of new park and public space on Governor’s Island are open to the public. The West 8 NY team was there to witness the spectacle.
Governors Island opened to an eager public on Saturday, May 24. Thousands of visitors enjoyed the Island’s”new round fountains, swooping paths, elliptical enclosures, fluid flower beds, and undulating lawns” and reveled in the abundance of arts and crafts, musical and theatrical performances that were part of the Opening Day Family Festival hosted by the Governors Island Alliance.
Only a seven-minute ferry ride from Brooklyn and Manhattan, Governors Island “feels distant yet impossibly close, and the juxtaposition of vertical city and languorous landscape is almost surreal“ says New York Magazine. Leslie Koch, president of the Trust for Governors Island, enthusiastically declared that “for the price of a $2 round-trip ferry ride, you really feel like you’re on vacation.”
For West 8, the transformation of this abandoned military base and unique, windblown island into an idyllic destination, a green broccoli in the water, has constituted an incredibly rewarding journey. “We designed the park to take advantage of Governors Island’s amazing assets. We couldn’t be happier to see people enjoying the park and making it their own”, says West 8 New York’s Principal, Jamie Maslyn Larson.
The 30 acres of new park designed by West 8 has been touted as one of “New York’s new jewels” by the press, it encompasses:
• Liggett Terrace, a sunny, 6 acre plaza with seasonal plantings, seating, water features and public art;
• Hammock Grove, a verdant 10 acre space that is home to 1,500 new trees, play areas and 50 hammocks
• The Play Lawn, 14 acres for play and relaxation that includes two natural turf ball fields sized for adult softball and Little League baseball.
In addition, new welcome areas have been added at the Island’s ferry landings, as have key visitor amenities, including lighting, seating and signage throughout the Historic District.
Visitors to the Island can also see the next phase of park under construction -the Hills, scheduled to be completed in 2015. Made of recycled fill materials, the Hills will rise 30 to 80 feet above the Island, giving visitors a 360-degree view of the Harbor.
The Island first opened to the public in 2005. Since then, it has undergone major changes, transforming into a new public destination for all New Yorkers. With the completion of the new 30 acres of park, approximately 125 acres of Governors Island are now fully open to the public.
Last summer, the Island was open for 40 days and saw 398,000 visitors, 85% of whom were from New York’s five boroughs. This year, for the first time in history, the Island will be open to the public seven days a week. Offering a full calendar of events and a diverse range of new activities and programs that are sure to captivate visitors.
Project Credits Phase 1:
Lead Designer/Prime Consultant: West 8 urban design & landscape architecture p.c.
Associate Landscape Architect: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architecture
Lead Civil Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates
Local Civil Engineer: AKRF
Geotechnical Engineer: Hart Crowser Inc.
Signage and Wayfinding: Pentagram
Lighting: Tillotson Design Associates
MEP Engineer: Dagher Associates
Soils Consultant: Pine and Swallow Environmental
Irrigation Consultants: Northern Designs
Code Consultants: Code Consulting Inc.
Cost Estimator: Faithful & Gould
Operations and Maintenance: ETM Associates
Surveyors of Record: Langan
Water Feature Designers: Fluidity Design
Archaeological Consultants: Linda Stone, RPA
Specification Consultants: Construction Specifications, Inc.
West 8 is an award-winning international office for urban design and landscape architecture founded in 1987. Over the last 25 years West 8 has established itself as a leading practice with an international team of 70 architects, urban designers, landscape architects and industrial engineers. West 8 developed projects all over the world in places such as Copenhagen, London, Moscow, New York, Madrid, Toronto and Amsterdam. The office gained international recognition with projects such as Schouwburgplein in Rotterdam (NL), Borneo-Sporenburg in Amsterdam (NL), Chiswick Park in London (UK) and Expo \’02 in Yverdon-les-Bains (CH). Many of the projects are the result of groundbreaking entries in important international competitions. Recently won competitions include Toronto Waterfront in Toronto (CA), Governors Island in New York (USA) and Playa de Palma in Mallorca (ES).
Amongst the numerous awards received by West 8 are the Honor Award of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), Lifetime Achievement Award for Architecture 2011, Mondriaan Fund (formerly BKVB), the International Urban Landscape Gold Award (IULA), the Prix de Rome, the Dutch Maaskant Award, the Bijhouwer Award, the Rosa Barba First European Landscape Prize, the Green Pin and the Veronica Rudge Green Prize for Urban Design.