See new images of Barry Diller’s $250M Pier 55 park taking shape in the Hudson River

December 10, 2018

Photo by CityRealty

Back in July 6sqft reported construction progress at the enthusiastically on-again Pier 55  public park project on the Hudson River funded by billionaire businessman Barry Diller. The park broke ground in April, and some snaps courtesy of CityRealty revealed new concrete pylons arranged in various heights that will act as the wave-shaped floating park’s support structure. Now, the New York Times details further and more fascinating progress on the $250 million park and performing arts venue, including the installation of its stylistic anchor in the form of a system of concrete supports called pots, the underpinnings of Diller’s unconventional architectural vision. And CityRealty once again reveals photos of what’s happening in the Hudson just west of the Meatpacking District.

pier 55, barry diller, thomas heatherwick
Rendering via Heatherwick Studio.

“I like building things that at least add something. People may say, ‘We don’t like it,’ but at least it is a project that people’s eyes focus on and they say, ‘Wow, that’s interesting.’” Diller told the Times.

The pots will function at giant planters to support the park’s sloping sections, which will perch atop 132 of them. A 350-ton crane lowered the first pot into place, kicking off a construction process that is expected to wrap up in 2020.

The pots can weigh up to 90 tons and be as tall as 30 feet. A team of dock workers attaches them to a crane atop an enormous barge; cables, shackles and ropes are used to keep each one steady as it’s put in place on a narrow concrete piling.

The Fort Miller Company concrete plant in Easton, N.Y. is tasked with creating each pot from a lightweight concrete in a custom-sculpted foam mold. Each pot is made up of four to six segments, or petals.

Fort Miller has had to invest in new equipment and engineering software for a job this unprecedented and complex. Butch Marcelle, a director at Fort Miller, said, “It’s the most difficult project we’ve ever undertaken.”

The pots make an hour-long journey south to the Port of Coeymans marine terminal where their petals are put together; they’re then loaded by crane onto barges for the trip to Manhattan.

Already underway are the construction of the park’s walkways that connect it to the Hudson River Park and the river’s edge, and the flat, more conventional central portion of the park.

Designed in collaboration between London-based Heatherwick Studio and MNLA, the 2.4-acre park is devised to look like a leaf floating in water. The pier’s concrete pylons will support its undulating topography.

Inspired by the diversity of Acadia National Park, Pier 55 will feature four different landscape typologies on each of its four corners. An amphitheater-like area will offer space for live performance and public art, as well as community events.

After years of drama, during which the project was declared dead, it was given new life with Diller’s renewed commitment, complete with the backing of his onetime legal foes, former opponent Douglas Durst and Governor Andrew Cuomo.


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