$18.3M sustainable playground breaks ground at the Battery

Posted On Fri, March 13, 2020 By

Posted On Fri, March 13, 2020 By In Financial District, Green Design, Landscape Architecture

The “bluffs” zone includes five granite slides and boulder scrambles; renderings courtesy of BKSK Architects & Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners

As the threat of climate change grows, parks in New York City are working to become more resilient. Officials on Thursday broke ground on an $18.3 million waterfront playground at the Battery in the Financial District. The Battery Playscape, as it’s being called, is expected to be one of the city’s largest sustainable parks. It will triple the size of the current playground and will feature a rainwater runoff system and a wide variety of durable plants.

battery playscape, the battery, nyc parks

battery playscape, the battery, nyc parks
The marsh features sustainably-made playground elements and multilevel playhouses

In collaboration with the Battery Conservancy and NYC Parks, BKSK Architects and Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners are creating a playground focused on local ecology, with elements inspired by climate, sea, and wind, according to the architects.

The design divides the playground into five zones inspired by how water shapes land: bluff, marsh, dune, meadow, and riverbed. Within these zones will be five granite slides, reflective shade structures, multilevel “tree houses,” a playground theater perfect for children-led performances, and lots of plantings.

battery playscape, the battery, nyc parks
One side of the “dunes” includes the ShowBox theater and seating

battery playscape, the battery, nyc parks
There will be a large sandbox with plenty of space to play

“We are excited to begin construction on a unique nature-driven playground that marks the culmination of our 25-year campaign to revitalize and transform the historic Battery into a world renowned cultural destination,” Warrie Price, the president and founder of the conservancy, said in a press release.

“The Battery Playscape can change the way playgrounds are built and redefine their impact, transforming climate challenges into opportunities for creative play, learning, and the cultivation of the next generation of environmental stewards.”

The immersive playground will be made of sustainable materials.  Impermeable paving will direct runoff to verdant rain gardens under footbridges, mixing eco-friendly flood protection measures with play.

The Parks Department said it intends to use the Battery Playscape as a model for future resilient playgrounds around the city, including at locations in the Rockaways.

battery playscape, the battery, nyc parks
The location of the new park at the southernmost part of Lower Manhattan

Scheduled to open in the spring of 2021, the playground was funded with $9 million from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, a $7.65 million grant from the MTA, $800,000 from Mayor Bill de Blasio, $500,000 from City Council Member Margaret Chin, and $350,000 from Borough President Gale Brewer.

3/13/20 Editor’s note: The original version of this story incorrectly said the Parks Department will use the Playscape as a model for future parks, like the East River Park. We have corrected the error. 

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All renderings courtesy of BKSK Architects & Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners

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Neighborhoods : Financial District

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