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West 8 Wins Governors Island Competition

December 20, 2007

By Tim McKeough

A team led by the Dutch landscape architecture firm West 8 has been selected to design a new park and open space on Governors Island, a 172-acre landmass near the southern tip of Manhattan. The project will include a two-mile promenade along the water’s edge, a new 40-acre park on the southern half of the island, and improved park design on the northern half of the island, which is a National Historic District. “These spaces will be places where New Yorkers and others will experience a completely new set of captivating and unique recreational, cultural and educational opportunities,” West 8’s Adriaan Geuze said in a statement.

Governors Island
Governors Island
Governors Island
Images courtesy West 8

The scheme for Governors Island developed by the West 8-led team includes a two-mile promenade along the water’s edge, a new 40-acre park on the southern half of the island, and improved park design on the northern half of the island.

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The West 8 team includes Rogers Marvel Architects, Diller Scofido + Renfro, Quennell Rothschild, and SMWM. Their selection comes at the conclusion of a competition with a shortlist that included teams led by Field Operations and WikinsonEyre; Hargreaves Associates and Michael Maltzan Architecture; REX and Michel Desvigne Paysagistes; and WRT and Urban Strategies.

The winning proposal envisions circulation paths inspired by the markings of a butterfly wing, artificial hills built with waste from demolished buildings, and public bicycles free for visitors to use. The number of these elements that will make it into the final plan remains to be seen, as the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation made it clear that the competition was to select a design team—not a final scheme. The West 8 team will now develop a master plan and detailed designs. The corporation’s president Leslie Koch has previously indicated that she hopes to see shovels in the ground by 2009 or 2010.

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