Governors Island: Park and Public Space

New York, US

Developed from the 2007 international design competition winning entry and the 2010 Park and Public Spaces Masterplan, Phase 1 of Governors Island, which opened in 2014, creates 30 acres of new park and public spaces and adds key visitor amenities to the historic North Island.

West 8 understood from the outset that the new Park and Public Spaces would need to be resilient in the face of rising waters. Rather than withdrawing in the face of the advancing waters, West 8 lifted the majority of the island out of the flood zone. Allowing people to enjoy the connection to the salt winds, swirling waters and expansive views of the harbor while ensuring that the trees we plant in 2013 grow into a great forest over the next few generations.

Phase 1 of the Park and Public Spaces encompass Liggett Terrace, a six-acre plaza with seasonal plantings, seating, food concessions and a hedge maze; Hammock Grove, a sunny ten-acre space that is home to 1,500 new trees, play areas and 50 hammocks; and the Play Lawn, 14 acres for play and relaxation that includes two natural turf ball fields sized for adult softball and Little League baseball, and 5 miles of meandering cycleways. In addition, new welcome areas have been added at the Island’s ferry landings, as have key visitor amenities, including new lighting, seating, and signage throughout the Historic District.

The City of New York has committed to investing over $250 million in the redesign and upgrade of Governors Island’s park and public spaces and infrastructure as part of a multi-phase project begun in May of 2012.

See also the design for Governors Island Park and Public Space Master Plan and Governors Island The Hills

More information about Governors Island:

Video: The Trust for Governors Island

Photography: Kreg Holt, Timothy Schenck, Iwan Baan


The Trust for Governors Island


Lead Designer/Prime Consultant: West 8 urban design & landscape architecture p.c. Associate Landscape Architect: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects Lead Civil Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates Local Civil Engineer: AKRFGeotechnical Engineer: Hart Crowser Inc.Signage and Wayfinding: PentagramLighting: Tillotson Design Associates MEP Engineer: Dagher Associates Soils Consultant: Pine and Swallow EnvironmentalIrrigation Consultants: Northern DesignsCode Consultants: Code Consulting Inc. Cost Estimator: Faithful & GouldOperations and Maintenance: ETM AssociatesSurveyors of Record: Langan


2016 Architectural Precast Association Award Excellence, 2016 Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award, 2015 ASLA NY Chapter Honor Award, Built by Women New York City Award, Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation (2014), Center for Architecture Foundation Award, The American Institute of Architects, New York , Open House New York Award, Open House New York (May 2011), Special Recognition Award, Municipal Art Society (June 2010, Special Citation, The American Institute of Architects, New York (June 2009), Green Around Downtown Award, Alliance for Downtown New York (June 2008)