The New York chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year at the 2014 President’s Dinner Gala. For this occasion, the ASLA has selected the Rockefeller Foundation’s Judith Rodin, the Trust for Governors Island’s Leslie Koch, and the NY1 News Organization as their honored guests.
In just a few years, visitors will stand atop an 80-foot-tall hill on Governors Island and enjoy sweeping vistas of New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty, and the Manhattan skyline. Today Mayor Bloomberg broke ground on The Hills, a new 11-acre stretch of green space, that is part of Governors Island Park, and one feature of landscape architecture firm West 8’s expansive 30-acre Public Space Master Plan that was first unveiled in 2010.
Only a little over decade ago, Governors Island was a sleepy coast guard base just a stone’s throw from Lower Manhattan, but it has since become a destination for New Yorkers offering a slew of recreational activities, events, and new park land. Now the idyllic island could be populated by a new hotel along with restaurants, retail, and other commercial development.
The world’s first festival of traveling vintage French carnival rides and carousels, Fête Paradiso, will make its United States debut on Bastille Day weekend, July 13–14, on Governors Island in New York City. The rare, museum-quality collection of late-19th and early-20th century attractions includes carousels, flying swings, and a pipe organ. Visitors will have the extraordinary chance to interact with the collected works, which will be available for public enjoyment each weekend from July 6 to September 29, 2013.
It took only a few seconds for Building 877 on Governors Island—dynamited at various key points—to come crashing down in a pile of sand-colored dust (hopefully with no asbestos)! A group of about 150 lucky New Yorkers, including Raymond Gastil (heading back to his home in Seattle), Margaret Sullivan (H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture), Jonathan Marvel (Rogers Marvel Architects and one of the architect’s of the new Governors Island), Lance Brown, and The Guy Nordenson family, were invited to witness the “implosion” at 6:37a.m. on Sunday, June 9.
There are probably many buildings in New York we would in our fantasies like to see blown up, but that rarely happens in this dense and intricate city. But this Sunday morning June 9 at precisely 7:36 building 877, a twelve-story former-residential structure on Governors Island will be “imploded” and turned into fill for the new adjacent landscaped park being designed by West 8 the Dutch landscape firm. Building 877 is one of the least distinguished buildings on the overbuilt island and will be much more valuable used as fill for a new public park than as a building. In this picture of the building taken just a few months ago before its facade had been taken off the grey blob oozing around the back of the structure is the base of West 8’s new landscape for the island which will open next fall. If you can’t make it to the island, you can watch a livestream of the implosion here.
Development on Governors Island isn’t slowing down any time soon. With construction of the new park by West 8 well underway, the Trust for Governor’s Island has moved on to the next project: the south part of the island. The organization has issued a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for development of 33 acres. The organization is inviting developers, non-profits, and institutions to submit ideas ranging from commercial and educational to cultural.
On Monday, the Trust for Governors Island released a request for proposals, calling on developers to suggest meaningful uses for 40 of the former Army and Coast Guard base’s historic structures. New York City is in the midst of a $300 million revitalization program that is modernizing the island’s infrastructure and re-sculpting its landscape in order to transform it into a major recreational destination. The RFP seeks to bring private investment into the mix in a way that will create a sustainable economic future for the public park. In that spirit, the Governors Island Alliance has released a list of nine criteria for evaluating proposals. The criteria favor uses that enhance the public space, protect the historic character of the buildings, connect with the waterfront, and encourage a diversity “of people and price points.” Details can be found here.
Each year, the AIANY’s Emerging New York Architect (ENYA) committee and the Structural Engineers Association of New York bring a whimsical, wondrous, and often absurd pavilion to New York’s Governors Island as part of the FIGMENT Festival. This year, FIGMENT held a design competition and 200 designers submitted proposals. The newly announced City of Dreams Competition winner for 2013 is Brooklyn-based Studio Klimoski Chang Architects and their sustainably-minded Head in the Clouds pavilion, comprised of metal rods, and thousands of plastic milk jugs and water bottles.