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Pier A, New York

location: Battery Park, Downtown New York

year: 2010

Centre for Performing Arts

A design proposal presented to The National Endowment for the Arts in New York.

There is a need for a large new Cultural Center in this downtown area at the southern tip of Manhattan where there has recently been a high growth in residential accommodation. Most cultural facilities, The Met and Museum of Modern Art for example,  are located in Midtown Manhattan so there is a move to provide a Center and in this case set on the principle Fort Clinton axis of Battery Park with its alignment with The Statue of Liberty.
The design could also unlock financial sponsorship to upgrade Pier A the historic first landing point close to the north of the new 'Opera Island'.

The design is composed of a classic contemporary three part sculptural composition set on a new artificial island with the Central Entrance Atrium dividing the Opera and Performing Arts Hall on the north side from the Art Galleries and Conference Centre to the south. Access to the central Atrium would be with short pedestrian bridges from the Battery Park axis with ferry, water taxi and private boat drop off on the Hudson River side. A tunnel exit close to the existing road tunnels would provide separate private access for orchestra, performers and security for art deliveries.

The giant tilting and curving solar glass pv sails that clad the new building forms are inspired by the silicone sails of Americas Cup yachts and would provide clean solar energy. Turbines set into the island base which could create energy from the river tidal flow.

The initial inspiration for the design was to create a dynamic and beautiful form that re translates  the 'shards of glass' that fell from the World Trade Center on 9/11, our a desire to translate tragedy into joy...within the context of an architectural form. From a sculptural standpoint the asymmetric shapes of the shard like sails 'land' in the river like giant ice flakes in The Hudson contrasting the vertical background of NY skyscrapers.  The first rough study model was made of hammer broken cd disks with their extraordinarily beautiful dichroic rainbow refractions. Our intention is to provide New York with a positive, sculptural focal point and magnet for visitors at the southern tip of Manhattan with high level vantage points and restaurants etc for visitors to enjoy the outward river view towards the Statue of Liberty. The ' Opera Island ' would  become a key view for arriving liners....a new 'seamark' for New York.