An abandoned industrial landscape is repurposed in New York
One of New York’s newest waterfront parks is providing residents and visitors to Queens with a retreat where they can connect with nature at the water’s edge.
A collaboration between SWA/BALSLEY and WEISS/MANFREDI with ARUP, Hunters Point South Waterfront Park has transformed just under five hectares of abandoned industrial landscape next to Long Island City into a new waterfront park.
WEISS/MANFREDI describe their vision for the site as “an international model of urban ecology and a world laboratory for innovative sustainable thinking.”
Six thousand square metres of new wetlands have been added, re-establishing the area’s former marshland identity, while a slightly elevated trail along the causeway offers panoramic views of the Manhattan skyline and marsh habitat.
The project includes a multi-use green oval with a pleated steel shade canopy and framed by a continuous path, as well as an urban beach, urban dog run, and interpretive rail garden featuring native grasses and a central plaza with water jets.
A pavilion nestled under a continuous canopy between two buildings both connects the park to the water’s edge and provides spectacular views. A folded plate shade structure contributes to the park’s ecological sensitivity through its solar panels and storm water capture. Currently, 64 photovoltaic panels power half of the entire park, but there is room to add more so that Hunter’s Point can be entirely solar powered in the future. Nearby bioswales are nourished by the collected stormwater.
A tree-shaded play area filled with native grasses offers a space for visitors of all ages, with opportunities for basketball, adult fitness and water play.
Hunter’s Point’s ‘industrial peninsula’ is an island-like setting surrounded by salt marsh, with a bridge members of the public can cross to see ‘Luminescence’, a land art installation by Nobuho Nagasawa which uses six-foot glowing discs to illustrate the phases of the moon.
The Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park’s path system travels right to the water’s edge, with ‘break-out’ lounges extending off the pathways and wooden ‘rafts’ for relaxing. A kayak launch, and exercise and picnic areas, truly make the space one to be enjoyed by everyone.
SWA/BALSLEY points out that, “what was once a barren post-industrial site has been transformed into a world-class park that is both urbane and otherworldly. The site is waterfront and city, gateway and sanctuary, blank slate and pentimento. These readings suggest an approach to the landscape that enhances what is unique about the site, while framing a new multi-layered identity as a recreational and cultural paradigm.”