Posts tagged with "West 8":

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New renderings and info unveiled for Philly’s 14-acre Schuylkill Yards project

New images of the Schuylkill Yards project penned for Philadelphia have been released, along with a fancy fly-through film and a new website that details new information. In addition to this, an interactive map outlines 12 of the 14 proposed new buildings for the 14-acre site which lies off the Schuylkill River. The master plan incorporates Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, the third-busiest Amtrak station in the country. 30th Street will see an influx in usage if New York-based SHoP Architects and Netherlands-based landscape architects West 8 are as successful as the project intends to be. "It is estimated that over the next three decades, renewed interest in rail travel will bring twice as many people into this already bustling transportation hub," read a line from a marketing brochure on the project. SHoP and West 8's plans work around the station seem to place priority on public space (of which there will be 6.5 million square feet, denoted as "greenspace and improved streetscape") in the vicinity. Four public spaces were outlined in the brochure:
  1. Drexel Square will feature an elliptical lawn and supposedly represent the "continuation of William Penn’s original vision for the city’s 'public room.'" The area will be active during the day and night and is set to "serve as the gateway into University City from Center City and 30th Street Station."
  2. JFK Boulevard is due to be transformed into a "shared esplanade" linking 30th Street Station with the Armory building. This space will act as an overspill area for commuters and visitors leaving the station, safely integrating pedestrians, bikes, and cars in the same space, "while providing a rich new greenway for the public."
  3. Market Street, a well-known thoroughfare in Philly, will receive new bicycle and pedestrian lanes, as well as trees that will line the street to counteract noise and pollution.
  4. The Wintergarden. Renders for the space show an elevated, balustrade-encased area overlooking the streets filled with greenery and families. The surrounding area appears to be laboratories, so it is unclear if this is a specific public space. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) reached out to the developers (Brandywine Realty Trust and Drexel University) for clarification and is waiting to hear back.
Meanwhile, a 627,000-square-foot office tower, "3101 Market East," is in line to be built, as is a hotel covering 247,000 square feet. The $6.5 billion scheme is part of the "University City" development which will be home for many Philly-based universities and institutions, including: Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania, Penn Medicine, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of the Sciences, Lincoln University, the Science Center, and the Wistar Institute. According to a press release, the Schuylkill Yards project "has the potential to add 25,000 new jobs and create millions of dollars in new tax revenue." Part of it overlaps the Keystone Innovation Zone, a program started by the state of Pennsylvania to encourage start-up companies to come to Philadelphia. It will give residents and businesses tax benefits (up to $100,000 annually) and "further stimulate investment and growth in the community." This hopes to draw science and research-based companies to University City, which offers a Science Center which is undergoing major changes itself. The center recently expanded its 17-acre physical campus, which has been rebranded as uCity Square, to encompass a total of 27 acres. It houses 15 existing buildings, a 16th  is under construction, and nine additional buildings are planned over the next 10 years. In past coverage of the Schuylkill Yards, AN's Will Barlow noted that in a report from last year, firms that were incubated at the Science Center bring $12.9 billion to the Greater Philadelphia economy each year.
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2016 Best of Design Award for Landscape > Public: Lower Rainier Vista & Pedestrian Land Bridge by GGN

The Architect’s Newspaper (AN)’s inaugural 2013 Best of Design Awards featured six categories. Since then, it’s grown to 26 exciting categoriesAs in years past, jury members (Erik Verboon, Claire Weisz, Karen Stonely, Christopher Leong, Adrianne Weremchuk, and AN’s Matt Shaw) were picked for their expertise and high regard in the design community. They based their judgments on evidence of innovation, creative use of new technology, sustainability, strength of presentation, and, most importantly, great design. We want to thank everyone for their continued support and eagerness to submit their work to the Best of Design Awards. We are already looking forward to growing next year’s coverage for you. 2016 Best of Design Award for Landscape > Public: Lower Rainier Vista & Pedestrian Land Bridge Architect: GGN Location: Seattle, WA

With the Lower Rainier Vista Project, GGN extends and completes the Olmsted Brothers’ historic vision for a monumental campus axis at the University of Washington. The project’s defining feature is the lowering of the roadway that isolated the last portion of the historic axis, reconnecting it with an elegant land bridge. This new connection allows pedestrians, cyclists, buses, and automobiles to move easily between the UW Husky Stadium light rail station and the campus heart. By creating a more generous, people-focused feel to the campus, the Vista Project reenvisions a disconnected landscape as a place to linger.

Structural Engineer and Civil Engineer KPFF

Electrical Engineer and Lighting Designer AEI/Pivotal Lighting Design Irrigation Design Jeffrey L. Bruce & Company Gabion Basket Walls Hilfiker Retaining Walls Linear LED Lighting i2Systems

Honorable Mention, Landscape > Public: Governors Island Park & Public Space

Architects: West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture Location: Governors Island, NY

With an extraordinary 360-degree panoramic experience of the New York Harbor, the sculpted topography, winding pathways, and carefully planted trees of Governors Island Park create a beautifully choreographed celebration of nature while improving resilience for rising sea levels.

Honorable Mention, Landscape > Public: Newark Riverfront Park

Design Team: Weintraub Diaz Landscape Architects, Newark Planning Office, Hatch Mott MacDonald, MTWTF Location: Newark, NJ

Using a participatory design process with input from over 6,000 residents, this project transformed a brownfield adjacent to a Superfund site into an oasis meant to reflect its ethnically diverse working class community, while benefitting it socially, economically, and environmentally.

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Major expansion and upgrade planned for Toronto’s Moss Park

MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA), Public Studio, and West 8 have unveiled new plans for Moss Park in Toronto, expanding existing programs, facilities, and green space. The plan for the 366,000-square-foot park, stemming from conversations with over 1,800 community members, focuses on a public commons surrounded by programmed buildings, landscapes, and art. This new organization will provide 5 percent more park space, 175 more trees, a little league baseball diamond, extensive seating, a new elevated walking path, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts, and an outdoor skating pad. Along with a variety of ties to the surrounding city, the park will have a strong connection to the nearby Allen Gardens. The project team is currently writing a feasibility study report to be presented to the City Council this winter, with community consultations to be held in 2017.

Architect: MacLennan Jaunkalns Miller Architects (MJMA), Public Studio, and West 8 Client: City of Toronto, The 519 Location: Toronto
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AN tours the Hills on Governors Island with West 8’s Adriaan Geuze

"To get here, you take a ferry, you leave the city for a small vacation. The logic of the park is that you are being reborn," explained West 8 founding principal Adriaan Geuze, as he and The Architect's Newspaper ascended Outlook Hill on an uncharacteristically grey June morning. Despite the drizzle, the hill provides a vertiginous view of the Statue of Liberty and the New York Harbor, a not-seen-before perspective that is sure to induce awe in new visitors' eyes and spawn hundreds of thousands snaps for the ephemeral visual catalogues of Instagram, Facebook, and platforms yet unknown. The Hills on Governors Island, designed by West 8 with Mathews Nielsen, celebrates its public opening today, less than three years after its official groundbreaking. In contrast to parks that lure with slick design and entertainment options, its program is emphatically sincere: The names of the four hills—Outlook, Grassy, Slide, and Discovery—are honest indicators of their respective offerings. 26-foot-tall Grassy Hill provides a spread of green for vegetal lounging, while Discovery Hill hosts a site-specific cast concrete sculpture by artist Rachel Whiteread. Adjacent 70-foot-tall Outlook Hill tops out well above the treeline to offer panoramic views of the harbor, New Jersey, and three of five boroughs. Geuze veered from the paved path to climb the scramble, a pile of rectangular rocks gleaned from the island's former seawall that forms a non-linear path up Outlook Hill. Climbing up hand-over-foot, he gestured uphill: "Is this the path? Or is this the path? I like that ambiguity. Because its so informal, it allows you to colonize the space mentally, to say 'Hey! This is cool! Is this for me, or is it supposed to be for children?' The scramble triggers your attention and because it's not clear what it is, that gives you a sense of freedom. There's not a billboard to explain what this is. You're just aware of it." The designers were aware, too, of Olmsted's influence on New York City park design (and the parks' subsequent influence on New Yorkers ideas of nature) but the Hills is a departure from Olmsted's (faux) naturalistic aesthetic. The curvature and undulation of the landscape is dramatized by the Hill's white concrete edges which function "almost like eyeliner" and add an archness to the design. West 8 drew on a century of city park design by using 17 species of trees most commonly found in New York parks, although the plant configuration and selection on the most exposed areas respond directly to the windblown, salt-sprayed landscape. At ground level, the hills are planted with fast-growing grasses and covered with a layer of biodegradable coconut fiber to anchor the soil and prevent erosion, while lawns are self-draining (see diagrams above).

We moseyed down one of those lawns to Slide Hill, which features four alluring metal slides, short and long. The composition of the slides is reminiscent of those that West 8 designed for Madrid Río in 2011. This reporter was wearing an outfit that was unfortunately not conducive to sliding, but she did watch a landscape architect fly down the longest chute after taking measurements at the top of the hill. Despite the rain, she scooted down quickly.

On the golf cart back to the ferry terminal, Geuze considered Governors Island's place in New York. Reflecting the contradiction of its central location and relative isolation, he mused on the many views expressed in the harbor: "We tried in the design to expose all the layers," on and off the Hills. "On the ferry, you sit with people you don't know, people who may have a different social status or income. This is a democratic island, a place for people from all boroughs."

Ferries depart seven days per week from Manhattan and Brooklyn through September 25. The full schedule can be found here.

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West 8 and Mathews Nielsen’s The Hills at Governors Island set to open next Tuesday

On April 9, 1776, General Israel Putnam of the Continental Army fortified Governors Island with mounds of earth to stave off the encroaching British Army. Now, Dutch firm West 8 Urban Design & Landscape Architecture and local landscape architect Mathews Nielsen are essentially emulating Putnam’s plans to create an undulating, playful topography.

Known as “The Hills,” the project comprises four mounds made using recycled construction debris that form a rolling landscape with grassy slopes. Rising up to 70 feet, the tallest, “Outlook Hill,” will offer panoramic views of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, and all five boroughs.

The project is part of West 8’s master plan for the Governors Island park, encompassing 87 acres. The Hills adds 10 acres of greenery to the island, including 43,000 shrubs and more than 860 trees. At 38 feet high, the aptly named “Slide Hill” will feature four slides, one of which will be the longest in the city.

A “granite scramble” will also run through the site using blocks that once made up the island’s seawall. The scramble will link with other paths on “Discovery Hill,” which will be lined with a series of site-specific artistic installations.

“The ‘granite scramble’ presented a unique opportunity to recycle precious granite from the seawall, enriched with the scars of history,” said Adriaan Geuze, one of the founders of West 8. “We were convinced that this pile of granite rock offered the chance for a degree of informality throughout the park; the granite is laid out for seating, climbing, and pleasure.”

From an ecological perspective, the scheme contributes significantly to the vicinity. “By adding a minimum of soil above the salty groundwater, the park can perform as an ecosystem with the gradient of fresh brackish water,” said Geuze. “On top of this, hundreds of indigenous plants have been planted, and the island has been seeded with wild flowers, which creates a micro-biotope for millions of insects, and attracts birds.”

“Pleasure, journey, lightness, and playfulness” formed West 8’s initial approach and “a collective decision was made to avoid the cliché playground and to look for a form that could expand play beyond just children.”

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West 8 designs landscape to revitalize a previously abandoned island in Saint Petersburg

The global landscape architecture and urban planning firm, West 8, is designing a masterplan for New Holland Island, an island in the center of Saint Petersburg, Russia. The first phase is set to open this August 2016. The triangular artificial island dates back to the early 1700s when the city created two canals. The island originally served as a naval port, naval testing ground, and also hosted a naval radio station. Much of the original historic buildings were abandoned after the 1915 Russian Revolution. In 2000, city officials gained control of the island, opening it to the public for a public art exhibit. (One leading artist was the Philadelphia-based Roxane Permar.) In 2010, Saint Petersburg officials gave New Holland Development redevelopment rights to the island. In 2011, the IRIS Foundation started hosting a summer program on the island to help activate non-historic spaces, bringing in gallery-organized temporary exhibitions. The West 8 masterplan covers 2.2 hectares (that's a little over 5.4 acres) and features over 200 mature trees (a linden-flanked alley, willows, oaks, among others) as well as a central green and an herb garden. In winter, the central green will hold an ice skating rink. Other parts of the design opening this summer include a children's playground shaped like the hull of the ship Petr and Pavel, and locally-designed temporary pavilions (a stage, gallery, and visitor's center) by architects Sergey Bukin and Lyubov Leontieva. Three restored historic buildings that were once a naval prison, a blacksmith's building, and a naval officers house will also open by the end of this year, converted into a variety of programs—shops, a bookstore, cafes, exercise studios, a children's creative makerspace, and more. The second, third, and fourth phases are expected to open in 2019, 2021, and 2025. These subsequent renovations will finish the historic warehouse renovations and add just over 3.7 acres of landscaping near Labor Square and Kryukov Canal. The Saint Petersburg Investment Committee and the Council for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage approved the West 8 plan in 2014. (Originally WORKac won an earlier competition in 2011 to design the site and create a cultural center, but their proposal was abandoned in 2013 in favor of a more landscape-centric focus, spurred by the success of the New Holland Island summer programs.)
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SHoP and West 8 reveal plans for Philadelphia “Innovation Neighbrhood” at Drexel University

Fourteen acres next to Philadelphia’s 30th Street train station will be transformed into a $3.5 billion “innovation neighborhood” designed to mix education, housing and entrepreneurship, under plans unveiled this week. [beforeafter]Current view looking northwest towards University City. © 2016 SHoP Architects PC / West 8Future view looking northwest towards University City. Schuylkill Yards will be built intentionally in phases designed by different architects over time. © 2016 SHoP Architects PC / West 8[/beforeafter] Schuylkill Yards is the name of the mixed-use project, which will add up to eight million square feet of offices, labs, and housing in new and recycled buildings next to the third busiest passenger rail station in the country. Drexel University, which assembled the land and envisioned the project, announced this week that it has selected Brandywine Realty Trust of Philadelphia to be the master developer and its joint venture partner in the project. SHoP Architects and the Dutch firm West 8 are working on the master plan. SHoP will handle the district planning and development of the architectural standards, and West 8 will be responsible for creating the public realm and development of the landscape standards. Renderings unveiled this week show a combination of high-rise and low-rise buildings on a 10-acre site next to Drexel’s main campus, Amtrak’s 30th Street Station, and Brandywine’s Cira Centre development. “Schuylkill Yards will undeniably transform Philadelphia’s skyline as new towers rise on the west side of the Schuylkill River,” said Gerard H. Sweeney, president and CEO of Brandywine Realty Trust. [beforeafter]Current view from Center City looking west towards West Philadelphia. © 2016 SHoP Architects PC / West 8Future view from Center City looking west towards West Philadelphia. © 2016 SHoP Architects PC / West 8[/beforeafter] Proposed uses in this “collaborative neighborhood” include entrepreneurial spaces, educational facilities and research laboratories, corporate offices, residential and retail spaces, hospitality and cultural venues, and public open spaces. While the community is being designed for a wide range of users, from educational and medical institutions to residents and businesses, developers say the common theme will be the pursuit of innovation “Drexel has always believed there’s a superior use for this unique location — essentially the 50 yard line of the Eastern Seaboard — as a neighborhood built around collaboration and innovation. That’s why the University assembled these parcels, and the time is right to put this vision into action,” said Drexel President John A. Fry. “Schuylkill Yards is more than a large-scale development; it will be the heart of America’s next great urban innovation district.” The developers say this is a long-term investment in Philadelphia and its University City neighborhood, and it’s aimed at people who want to live or work in the area and have easy access to the train station. Besides its proximity to 30th Street Station, Schuylkill Yards will have connections to Philadelphia’s international airport. The master plan calls for a new gateway to Drexel and University City, a real estate submarket with a high concentration of education and medical institutions. Construction of Schuylkill Yards will take place in multiple phases over the course of approximately 20 years. As master developer, Brandywine, will oversee a team that includes Gotham Organization leading the residential development, and Longfellow Real Estate Partners leading the life sciences component. When completed, developers say, the site will contain a mix of repurposed existing buildings and new towers connected by a “diverse network of public spaces.” The development will begin with the creation of Drexel Square, a 1.3 acre park at 30th and Market streets, directly across from Amtrak’s 30th Street Station. In addition, they say, the historic former Bulletin Building will  be reimagined by transforming its east facade with “inside/out viewports and a dynamic front screen.” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the project represents “one of the most valuable assemblages of real estate” in the nation. “Schuylkill Yards is a big step forward in University City’s transition to a next-generation business district,” he said. “It will provide our region’s current and future innovators with a central hub for collaboration and signal to the world that Philadelphia is ready for business in the 21st century’s new economy.” Schuylkill Yards “will bring new, innovative businesses and residents to Pennsylvania, and the potential economic impact is tremendous,” said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, “Those who choose to make Schuylkill Yards their home will have access to many of the most innovative companies, organizations and educational institutions in our state.”
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Houstonians love botanic gardens, but not necessarily in their backyards

Neighbors of the recently approved Houston Botanic Garden (HBC), designed by New York–based West 8, oppose the plans, saying that the to-be-built garden will increase traffic in their neighborhoods and prevent neighbors from criss-crossing the site on foot, as is local custom. Right now, the 120-acre site, in the southeastern area of Houston, is home to publicly-owned Glenbrook Golf Course. "The Park Place Civic Club is taking the position of formal opposition," President Larry Bowles told The Houston Chronicle. "Members feel that the garden will disrupt the neighborhood environment that we're used to here and that the open space that the current Glenbrook Golf Course provides will be in essence taken away." The HBG organizers are planning to lease the site from the city, which means that there's extra imperative to keep the public engaged. West 8's plans respond to community desires for connection to the bayou, shady walking paths, access to the outdoors, and space for community events. The master plan will connect the two "precincts" of the garden, named the Island and the South Gardens, with a bridge over Sims Bayou, one of the few bayous in its natural state, that defines the northern border of the proposed park. The bridge over the bayou is part of "Botanic Mile," a wending drive that will take visitors to the heart of the park, an arrival plaza in the South Gardens. The design had to be hurricane- and flood-proof: Landscaping will elevate the site's topography to bring it outside of the 100-year floodplain. Rounding out the program are a classic glass conservatory for exotic plants, as well as amenities like a cafe, visitor's center, lecture hall, and events pavilion.   With a goal of opening in 2020, the group has raised $5 million already, and aims to raise $15 million through 2017. Construction on the project's first phase is expected to begin in 2018. Tomorrow, a public meeting will be held to discuss plans for the HBG. Adriaan Geuze, co-founder and principal of West 8, will be on hand to answer residents' questions.  
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Designer envisions a Miami Beach that embraces the rising sea

This year's Art Basel/Design Miami was a wash. The tallest stilettos could not save feet from floodwaters that inundated streets and forced partygoers under small tents. Even when it's not raining, water bubbles up through stormwater grates and sewers, a result of the city's porous limestone bedrock. Miami Beach is a barrier island that is routinely battered by hurricanes and floods. With global warming, the bad floods will only get worse. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NASA, and NOAA predict sea level rise between eight inches and six feet by 2100. For these reasons, Harvard GSD's newly established Design Office for Urbanization selected Miami Beach as its first focus site. Though unaffiliated with Harvard, a recent Florida architecture grad would make a great contribution to the program. Designer Isaac Stein, at West 8's New York office, envisions a solution for incorporating rising seas into Miami Beach's urban design, Vanity Fair reports. While completing an undergraduate degree in architecture at the University of Miami, Stein drafted a plan for a mangrove forest, raised buildings, canals, and other design interventions that will bend to, not fight, the rising seas. The plan focuses on South Beach proper, from 5th to 15th Streets. One of Miami Beach's main thoroughfares, Alton Road, would be raised on stilts to accomodate floodwater. Trams would replace cars, and bike lanes would be installed along Washington Avenue, roughly parallel to and a few blocks inland from the Atlantic. Historically, Miami Beach's western (bay) side was lined with mangroves. Stein's plan restores the mangrove forest to provide a natural buffer against rising water. Canals would be cut in the medians Michigan, Jefferson, and Lenox Avenues. The resulting fill could be used to raise buildings and roads 1.5 feet above grade, would safeguard the city against six feet of sea level rise.
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West 8 transforms a town plaza beneath an elevated highway in Belgium

For years, Engels Plein, an "English Square" on the perimeter of Leuven, Belgium, has been dominated by viaducts overhead, making the square poorly accessible, dark, unsafe, and, consequently, rundown. To better connect the surrounding homes and commercial spaces, West 8 transformed the industrial space into an outdoor lounge with multiple terraces that encourage people to live, shop, and work in the area. Leuven, previously an industrial city, is now a center of architectural development and renovation. West 8 won the “negotiated procedure” for Engels Plein in 2010, with a proposal to move the roadway under the viaduct and set-up green zones. The landscape architecture firm worked with BAS, Snoeck en partners, Tritel, ERM, and Betonac on the transformation. Since the square opened in October, its design has demonstrated a new sense of urban-ness with a stronger feeling of security. Engels Plein houses 65 trees, some up to 50 feet tall, giving the square tranquil character and leading drivers through a landscape. Although aesthetically popular, this greenery was actually planted to combat pollution and avoid excess stormwater runoff. Other additions include roundabouts, a decking structure, and concrete edging. The square has an elevator which connects to Keizersberg, a public park with hiking and recreation. New bus routes and cycling and pedestrian paths connect Engels Plein to the railway station and city center. “An attractive district will emerge where living, working and production function in a healthy balance,” West 8 said in a statement.  
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Here’s how BIG, West 8, and Atelier Ten will reshape Pittsburgh in a new master plan

BIG news for downtown Pittsburgh: New York–based Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), West 8 Landscape Architects, and Atelier Ten were tapped by private developers McCormack Baron Salazar and the Pittsburgh Penguins to create a master plan for 28 acres in Pittsburgh's Lower Hill District. Today, those plans were unveiled. The plan will redevelop public space around the erstwhile Civic Arena, build a new public space across from the Consol Energy Center, and dialogue with the city's vertiginous topography to create bike and pedestrian paths that connect the Hill District with Uptown and Downtown. In all, the New Lower Hill Master Plan calls for 1.2 million square feet of residential construction as well as 1.25 million square feet of retail and commercial space. The project is expected to break ground in 2016 and cost an estimated $500 million. “The master plan for the Lower Hill District is created by supplementing the existing street grid with a new network of parks and paths shaped to optimize the sloping hill side for human accessibility for all generations," Bjarke Ingels, BIG's founding partner, explained in a statement. "The paths are turned and twisted to always find a gentle sloping path leading pedestrians and bicyclists comfortably up and down the hillside. The resulting urban fabric combines a green network of effortless circulation with a quirky character reminiscent of a historical downtown. Topography and accessibility merging to create a unique new part of Pittsburgh." Landscape architects West 8 designed terraced parks and walkways informed by granite outcroppings characteristic of the surrounding Allegheny Mountains. Engineers and environmental design consultants at Atelier Ten developed sustainability guidelines that will encourage district heating and cooling, as well a stormwater retention for on-site irrigation. See the gallery for more master plan images and schematic diagrams.
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Pictorial> The Hills come alive on Governors Island

Standing near the top of Outlook Hill, Leslie Koch, president of The Trust for Governors Island, explained the reason for commissioning four huge earth mounds on an island in the middle of New York Harbor. "Most New Yorkers don't experience that fancy view [of the skyline]. You don't get to see the city on high from the city that created views." The Hills, part of a $220 million renovation of Governors Island, do create new ways of viewing the city and its surroundings. Landscape architecture firm West 8 was selected in 2007 to produce a master plan for Governors Island that included redesigns of the entire former military facility. Construction of the Hills began in 2013. Design was preceded by extensive on-site observation: the design team, led by Adriaan Geuze and Jamie Maslyn, spent hundreds of hours observing how visitors used the space. Maslyn noted that, for example, adults were using the swing sets intended for children. Discovery and play, consequently, are two themes that predominate in the realized design. To get to the site, visitors pass through a 40 acre welcome area. The space is meant for slow-paced leisure: reading, napping in hammocks, meandering through flower beds. The topography here creates a threshold for the rest of the site. Approached from the welcome area, the four hills rise smoothly from the level base of the island. Bright white concrete edging, to Geuze, "paints the topography more dramatically" and differentiates between fast and slow spaces. There is no main, or suggested, path to approach the hills. The paths fork in equally appealing directions, affording glimpses of the Statue of Liberty, lower Manhattan, or the Verrazano, depending on which way one turns. The hills obscure and reveal these sites gently, manipulating the horizon dramatically while accommodating a range of programs. Ranging in height from 25 to 70 feet, the names of the hills—Outlook, Slide, Discovery, and Grassy—correspond with their most salient feature. "Each of the hills," Koch noted, "embodies one of the attributes New Yorkers love about the island." https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZK7Xay5JQoY A zigzag path takes visitors up to the apex of Outlook Hill, 70 feet above ground. The vantage point afforded by the new topography allows visitors to see, standing still, the East and Hudson Rivers, Buttermilk Channel, New York Harbor, and the mouth of the Atlantic.  The design team was intent upon creating a way  for people of all ages and abilities to experience this view. All of the paved paths are at a maximum 4.5 percent slope: ADA compliant and wheelchair friendly. Granite blocks, harvested from the island's 1905 sea wall, create scrambles up the hillside to engage young people (or adventurous adults). Adjacent Slide Hill (40 feet high) will feature elements of pure play: four long slides. Discovery Hill (40 feet) will host a permanent installation by sculptor Rachel Whiteread, while Grassy Hill (25 feet) will be a place to relax on a sloping lawn. Governors Island's exposed location makes it vulnerable to the effects of both normal and extreme weather. To prevent the hills from shifting, settlement plates were planted at the base of the hills to measure changes in elevation. Molly Bourne, principal at Mathews Nielsen, vetted plants on their ability to withstand salt spray and high winds. Sumac and oak trees (around 860), as well as 43,000 maritime shrubs, will adapt to harsh conditions on the island. Storm resiliency is an integral feature of the design. Post-Sandy, 2.2 miles of sea wall, erected in 1905, were replaced in 2014 by a more modern fortification. Some of the pieces were repurposed as infill, along with an imploded building and a parking lot on the site of the Hills. In all, 25 percent of the fill is from the island, while the rest of was delivered via barge down the Hudson. While the Hills' official public opening is set for 2017, the site is open for previews on September 26th and 27th. Details here.