New York, NY, USA
104,544 sf Intensive Greenroof
Greenroofs.com Featured Project July 20, 2022
Powerful stormwater management is needed desperately in many areas across the globe in our highly developed low-lying cities, and nature-based solutions offer many attractive benefits. Such is the case with our current Featured Project, Little Island.
Superstorm Sandy slammed into New Jersey almost ten years ago and the hurricane’s storm surge created approximately $32 billion in damages, leaving New York City and her suburbs vulnerable without critical public and private infrastructure.
As a result, governments and designers have followed through with creative, resilient green infrastructure schemes for protection from extreme weather events. Imagining complex engineering techniques, Little Island is one such example resulting from a highly collaborative environment between architects, landscape architects, various types of engineers, and multiple consultants.
Seen from above, Little Island almost looks like a green postage stamp floating in the Hudson River. Its strength lies in its ability to help protect Manhattan and in effect Little Island acts a beautiful protective barrier island to New York City, not to mention provide New Yorkers with more public parks!
Excerpt from the Greenroofs.com Project Profile:
Designed by Heatherwick Studio, MNLA, Arup, and many others, Little Island is the fanciful 2.4-acre public park located in Hudson River Park, where New Yorkers and visitors can experience nature and art in a unique urban oasis on the Hudson River. Primarily funded by The Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation, the park features a lush, seasonal landscape with rolling hills, winding pathways and dazzling views coupled with free programming that includes music, dance, theater, poetry, comedy and arts workshops for all ages.
Heatherwick Studio explored the idea of designing a new pier that could draw from the remaining wooden piles from Pier 54.
Principal of MNLA Signe Nielsen describes her concept appearing to float like a magical green carpet above the eastern edge of the Hudson River “as a leaf with upturned edges.” Located near the intersection of West Street and 13th Street in the Meatpacking District and Chelsea neighborhoods of Manhattan, Little Island is accessed via two long gangways.
Components of the park, nestled among more than 350 species of flowers, trees and shrubs, include a 687-seat amphitheater known as “The Amph” with a central plaza and seating serving food and beverages; “The Play Ground,” an intimate stage and lawn space; and “The Glade” with its dazzling views of the park, New York City, and the Hudson River.
In effect, the highly complex construction of Little Island is an intensive green roof, using various techniques to climb to a height of 62 feet over the Hudson River. The paved areas range from 1.5 to 8%, and landscape slopes are up to 60%. The maritime botanic garden blooms with 39 species of trees, 74 species of shrubs, and 290 varieties of grasses, perennials, vines, and bulbs, many of which have been selected for their fragrance and attractiveness to birds and pollinators.
The four components to the structural system from the bottom up are piles, over 400 which are driven down into bedrock below the river; capitals, set on top of each pile; 132 tulip pots, and reinforced concrete slab. With five different soil types, soil depths range from 24 inches to 6 feet at hero or specimen tree locations.
The park’s imaginative design offers all New Yorkers and visitors a new public space that is whimsical, captivating, and restorative.
And, thanks to a network of green infrastructure elements artfully integrated into the park’s landscaping and plazas, virtually the entire Little Island is a sponge for stormwater.
Owner: Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT, owner of the land/water)- Pier 55/Little Island is state-owned land
Location: New York, NY, USA
Building Program: Government, Park
Greenroof Type: Intensive
Size: 104,544 sq.ft.
Slope: 1.5 – 60%
ARCHITECT OF RECORD:
LITTLE ISLAND EXECUTIVE PROJECT MANAGER:
HUNTER ROBERTS CONSTRUCTION GROUP
FISHER MARANTZ STONE
C & G PARTNERS
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By Linda S. Velazquez, ASLA, LEED AP, GRP
Greenroofs.com Publisher & Greenroofs & Walls of the World™ Virtual Summits Host