In the Governor’s Island project, the buildings are an integral part of the comprehensive master plan vision. Though distinct in their iconography, use, and materiality, they are not conceived of as separate from the Island or the Park—rather, they are an essential part of the larger language of movement, views, and energy that animates the entire design.
AN INTEGRATED LANDSCAPE
Designed to both intensify and capitalize on the views, movement, and openness which characterize the Park, the structures are also integral to a larger strategy of energy and sustainability. Their lifted forms allow them to sit lightly within the landscape; their shape and materiality allow them to utilize natural lighting and ventilation, minimizing their impact on their environment, and their organization creates interior spaces which are flexible and can change over time. Arrayed along the strands of the promenade, these structures create synthesis between landscape, infrastructure, and architecture, a kind of material extension of the views, movement, light, and energy that comprise the Island as a whole.
BUILDING AN ARRIVAL SEQUENCE
Facing Manhattan and just to the west of Soissons Dock, the Arrivals Building lifts from the island to welcome visitors as they disembark. The Arrivals Building is as much an extension of the island’s geography as it is a separate structure: as visitors cross the harbor from the Battery Maritime Building, it rises to meet them, marking the approach to the Island. Three smaller slips extend beneath it, allowing passengers to disembark directly beneath its cantilevered form: a central structural pier folds down to meet them, enclosing vertical access, allowing visitors to move directly up into the structure or continue onward into the Island itself. As visitors emerge through an opening in the building’s center into the North Island, the shape of the structure forms a natural amphitheater, allowing groups of visitors to gather here to listen to docents as they are introduced to the Island or to climb higher and look out over Fort Jay and the North Island before venturing there.
CREATING A CENTRAL PROMENADE
At the building’s prow is a café and interpretive center, which both has views back over Fort Jay and extends far over the water, reconnecting visitors with the city they have just left. The promenade itself slips beneath the Arrivals Building, connecting it to Castle Williams to the west, as well as to the adjacent Soissons Dock to the east. From the building’s highest level, uninterrupted views extend both to Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Bridge to the northeast, Jersey City to the west, and the Park itself and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge far to the south.
LOCATION / New York, New York
TYPE / Public park, marine ecology center, theater, and 15,000-seat amphitheater
SIZE / 174 acres
STATUS / Design completed 2007
ROLE / Design Architect & Architect of Record
COST / $220 million