Five Vie for New Governors Island Park Design
A design competition to create a promenade and parks on Governors Island in New York Harbor is down to five teams after the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation pared down an initial list of 29 teams.
The agency, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation, solicited entrants last October, attracting teams representing 10 countries and 65 firms overall.
The winning plan will create a 2.2-mi-long great promenade around the island perimeter, a new park on the southern side, and improved open space in the northern Historic District, including the 10-acre parade ground. It would add 25 to 40 acres of parkland.
The five teams selected for the competition, which will culminate this summer, are:
• Field Operations of New York and WilkinsonEyre Architects of London
• Hargreaves Associates of New York and Michael Maltzan Architecture of Los Angeles
• Ramus Ella Architects of New York and Michel Desvigne Paysagistes of Paris
• West 8 urban design & landscape architecture of the Netherlands, Rogers Marvel Architects of New York, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro of New York
• WRT of Philadelphia, Weiss-Manfredi of New York, and Urban Strategies of Toronto.
The redevelopment of the 172-acre isle, a former military base that the federal government transferred to state control, has been in the works for several years. Last year, the development agency issued a request for proposals for redeveloping and preserving historic features on 150 of the 172 acres. But after reviewing four master proposals to redevelop the whole island and 21 other single-project proposals, the agency last fall decided against pursuing all but one of the submissions – the New York Harbor School, a new maritime-focused school to be operated by the New York City Department of Education.
The whole-island proposals did not meet the RFP criteria, described in a statement last fall as a “coherent vision supported by market data, financial return, and funding sources” as well as deep development team experience.
“It’s such a huge decision to create that kind of partnership for an island that has so many historic features,” says Leslie Koch, the agency’s president. “We’re no longer planning to pursue a master-developer concept. Instead we’re going to proceed with a mixed-use, multiphase process.”
Koch says no date has been set for future RFPs under the new process. The 22 acres not slated for redevelopment make up the Governors Island National Monument administered by the National Park Service.
Newswatch – February 2007
New York Construction News