Thomas Balsley Associates and WEISS/ MANFREDI celebrate completion of NY Park
Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park, a design collaboration between Thomas Balsley Associates and WEISS/MANFREDI, opened to the public in a ribbon cutting ceremony with Mayor Bloomberg this week. The project, which was spearheaded by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, has been recognised by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the American Institute of Architects and The Chicago Athenaeum.
The opening of the northern section of Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park, located at 52-10 Center Blvd. in Long Island City, marks the completion of Phase 1 of a larger park masterplan with an extensive new infrastructure plan designed by ARUP. When complete, the Hunter’s Point South development will transform 30 acres of post-industrial waterfront on the East River into the City’s largest affordable housing development since the 1970s, which in addition to the park will include approximately 5,000 residential units (60% of which will be permanently affordable), a new public school to open for the 2013-14 academic year, and 17,000 sq ft of retail space..
Surrounded by water on three sides, the Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park has been designed to become a new model of urban ecology and a laboratory for innovative sustainable design. The integrated design weaves together infrastructure, landscape, and architecture to transform this previously underutilised site into new ecological corridors that anticipate the inevitable patterns of flooding and rising water levels along the East River, transforming Hunter’s Point South into both a new cultural and ecological paradigm.
The new park’s facilities include a playground, dog run, outdoor fitness area, and urban beach centered around a recreation oval with artificial turf suitable for athletics and a separate crescent of natural grass for picnicking, playing, and relaxing. A corrugated metal pavilion canopy and serene rail garden evoke the site’s industrial past, while a rain water collection system and soft, permeable water’s edge revisit the area’s distant past as a wetland ecosystem.
The pavilion, which covers and connects several buildings including Parks Department offices, public restrooms, and a café, follows the curve of the new multi-use green oval and fans out into an open shade structure that frames the site’s spectacular views of Manhattan. The pavilion will achieve net-zero power consumption through attached solar panels capable of powering up to 50% of the entire park. Rainwater collection and landscaping extend into the inland streets that draw pedestrians towards views of the water’s edge and beyond, linking the city to the park and the park to the waterfront.