Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Proposed 'New Pier 17' at South Street Seaport

A sneak peek at the latest renderings of the new design by SHoP Architects for Pier 17 that replaces the red shed by the Brooklyn Bridge show an open glass and steel structure that has transparent curtain walls and an open air plaza on the lower level.

The present structure of Pier 17 is that of a conventional mall, with shops around the edges of the building and a central atrium that provides an open vertical space.

The flat stacked floors of the redesign trades this vertical space for lateral sightlines and cross-ventilation, at least on the lower level.

The glass curtain walls on the upper floors should provide equally impressive views of the waterfront and the Brooklyn Bridge, whereas the red shed Pier 17 blocked its interior from the surrounding waterfront environment.

The only hazard SHoP's trade-off of vertical for horizontal space seems to pose is that if placement of interior structures on the lower level or walls on the upper levels becomes too aggressive, and Pier 17 loses its openness on both the vertical and horizontal planes.