Greening as an Expressive Code for the Urban Space

Heatherwick Studio

The commission for this project was received by the London office in 2013 from the Hudson River Park Trust. The client initially asked for a new pavilion to be situated atop a new pier floating on the Hudson River. Thomas Heatherwick recalls how, upon receiving this request, the team saw an opportunity to develop a site that would further involve New Yorkers by offering them an unusual public park. The project thus pursued the ambition of providing visitors a unique spatial experience: the excitement of being over the water, the feeling of leaving traffic behind and being immersed in greenery. This 11,000 square metre floating urban oasis is suspended above 132 columns of differing heights, surmounted by prefabricated concrete “pots”: true and proper sculptures designed by Arup, whose organic forms, inspired by natural vegetation, produce a unique artificial wilderness solidly rooted to the river bottom. Thomas Heatherwick defines the columns that support this complex artificial topography as the true “heroes” of the project, capable of transforming the load bearing structure into “scenographic flowerpots” that create a “richly-planted undulating landscape”.

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