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Wall Street Ferry Terminal at Pier 11
New York City
Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects

By Suzanne Stephens

Years ago, historian Nikolaus Pevsner famously pronounced that a bicycle shed is only a building, while Lincoln Cathedral is architecture. It might seem, at a glance, as if the Wall Street Ferry Terminal on New York’s East River belongs to the first category. In many ways, it is functionally and typologically an overgrown bike shed. But as Pevsner noted, the difference between a building and architecture can be determined by the structure’s engagement with space. In this case, the shed, or rather, terminal, designed by Smith-Miller + Hawkinson Architects, qualifies as architecture in the way it expands the sense of space with the thrust of its linear steel structure and the transparency and reflectiveness of its glass and metal planes. At the same time, it is functional in the good old Modernist sense of providing an array of open and closed waiting areas where Wall Street office workers may linger while waiting for private ferries to New Jersey, Brooklyn, and La Guardia Airport.

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All photography for walk throughs shot by Susannah Shepherd
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