Seating, lighting and other furnishings are critical to the visitor’s experience of any public space or park. An array of well-designed and well-located furnishings makes for a comfortable and inviting experience. Furnishings help establish character and feel. They also must be highly functional in terms of maintenance, durability, replacement cost and ease of use.
BENCHES, PROMENADE RAILING, LIGHT POSTS AND OTHERS
All of the furnishings provide a necessary function (like trash receptacles) but will be carefully selected from manufacturers or designed by the West 8 Team to seamlessly integrate into the park and public space design. Custom-designed elements will be durable, functional, comfortable, and enjoyable. Seating edges and benches will be inviting for sitting upright or laying back. The promenade railing will be designed for safety and delight. Light posts will be placed for minimal intrusion in the landscape. Drinking fountains, handrails, signage, and additional furnishings like barbecue grills and picnic tables will respect value and function as well.
The West 8-designed furnishings will draw from the vast pool of inspiration that the Island provides for clues to embellish the designs. Therefore, the sea might result in a promenade railing that appears to move like a school of fish. Fish-scale textures might appear on precast benches. The bottom of lamp posts may have a raptor’s claw “anchoring” them to the ground.
One of the signature experiences on the Island is riding the free Governors Island Bicycle. The free bicycle prototype designed by West 8 in the competition phase was assembled out of wood, readily available components and a distinctive basket.
The Governors Island Bicycle does not look like other bicycles because it is available only on Governors Island. It is made out of wood with a distinctive design because bicycling on the Island is an activity purely of recreation and pleasure. The bicycle is made out of natural materials because the Island is an oasis of green apart from the grid of the City. The free bicycle does not resemble conventional bicycles so the visitor will not confuse it with other visitors’ personal bicycles. It is available only on the Island, accessible by boat, so theft is not a concern. And the Governors Island Bicycle is a symbol of the Island’s democratic spirit because it is free.
The actual design of the Governors Island Bicycle will be specified during a later design phase. It should embody many of these unique qualities but must address practical concerns as well, including costs to assemble, repair and maintain, ease of use, safety, durability and flexibility. The construction budget includes the cost of 750 Governors Island Bicycles, and the operations and maintenance plan includes the costs of operating the program and maintaining the bicycles.
“The Way it Works” explains how the elements of the park and public space function. While the design is at the master plan stage, considerable work underlies the plan to ensure a strong foundation for future implementation. The West 8…
The program brief for the park and public space is based on a number of key principles:
• To provide unique experiences that capitalize on the attributes of the Island and its harbor location
• To create a destination that…
A landscape architect’s most transformative space-making tool is grading. Grading is used functionally to channel run-off and provide adequate drainage. Beyond the purely functional, however, grading creates heaving bulges and recesses, small dips and peaks, and swaths of smooth, flat…
Parks are more pleasurable and more memorable if they have a rich layering of spatial qualities. The new topography at the southern portion of Governors Island cultivates the views of the Harbor. The park and public spaces will be designed…
Clear, organized circulation is essential to the legibility of the park and public spaces and to the safety of users. A network of pathways and roads serves pedestrians, bicyclists, and service vehicles, with a hierarchy of path uses and path…
There is a conscious effort to correlate paving treatments and expression to the character of different park and public space areas and experiences. The horizontal plane underfoot (or under bicycle tires) contributes significantly to the experience.
Stretches of path and…
Edging is another key element of the Park and Public Space Master Plan. Edging surrounds and defines the perimeters of lawn and planted areas and the “pillow-shaped” topography. Edging serves multiple functions: clarifying paths, guiding bicyclists, and retaining grade. Its…
The Historic District’s protected conditions, higher elevations and quality top soils make for ideal conditions to grow large, beautiful shade trees and support other plantings. On the southern half of the Island, poor quality soil, exposure to harsh salty winds,…
The Park and Public Space Master Plan includes conceptual-level designs for three buildings to serve visitors and their needs for rest, refreshment, and information: Soissons Ferry Pavilion, the Shell at Liberty Terrace, and the Cube at Yankee Landing.