Featured Project: Little Island, NY

Small island
New York, New York, United States
104,544 sf intensive green roof
(Video)

Greenroofs.com Featured Project July 20, 2022

Efficient stormwater management is badly needed in our highly developed, low-lying cities in many areas around the world, and nature-based solutions offer many attractive benefits. Such is the case with our current Featured Project, Little Island.

Superstorm Sandy struck New Jersey nearly a decade ago and the hurricane’s storm surge caused approximately $32 billion in damage, leaving New York City and its suburbs vulnerable without critical public and private infrastructure.

Little Island Northeast view from the Esplanade. Photo credit Signe Nielsen

As a result, governments and designers have come up with creative, resilient green infrastructure plans to protect against extreme weather events. Little Island is an example of complex engineering techniques resulting from a highly collaborative environment between architects, landscape architects, different types of engineers, and multiple consultants.

Seen from above, Little Island looks almost like a green postage stamp floating in the Hudson River. Its strength lies in its ability to protect Manhattan, and indeed, Little Island acts as a beautiful protective barrier island for New York City, not to mention offering New Yorkers more public parks!

Image: Steven L Cantor

Excerpt from the Greenroofs.com project profile:

Designed by Heatherwick Studio, MNLA, Arup and many others, Little Island is Hudson River Park’s imaginative 6-acre public park where New Yorkers and visitors can experience nature and art in a unique urban oasis on the Hudson River. Funded primarily by the Diller – von Furstenberg Family Foundation, the park features a lush, seasonal landscape of rolling hills, winding trails, and dazzling vistas, coupled with a free program that includes music, dance, drama, poetry, comedy, and art workshops for all age groups included.

Heatherwick Studio explored the idea of ​​designing a new pier that could draw from Pier 54’s remaining wooden pilings.

MNLA director Signe Nielsen describes their concept, which appears to float like a magical green carpet over the eastern rim of the Hudson River, “as a leaf with edges pointing upwards.” Located near the intersection of West Street and 13th Street in the Meatpacking District and Chelsea neighborhoods of Manhattan, Little Island is accessed via two long corridors.

The park’s components, nestled among more than 350 species of flowers, trees and shrubs, include a 687-seat amphitheater known as “The Amph,” with a central plaza and seating serving food and beverages; “The Play Ground,” an intimate stage and lawn; and The Glade with its stunning views of the park, New York City and the Hudson River.

Erosion control on the northwest side of Little Island. Image: MNLA

In fact, Little Island’s highly complex construction is an intense green roof, using various techniques to scale the Hudson River to a height of 62 feet. The paved areas range from 1.5 to 8% and the landscape slopes are up to 60%. The maritime botanical garden flourishes with 39 species of trees, 74 species of shrubs and 290 species of grasses, perennials, vines and bulbs, many chosen for their fragrance and attractiveness to birds and pollinators.

The four components of the structural system, from bottom to top, are piles, over 400, driven into bedrock below the river; capitals that are placed on each stack; 132 tulip pots and reinforced concrete slab. With five different soil types, soil depths range from 24 inches to 6 feet in hero or specimen tree locations.

Detail pot section. Image: MNLA

Geological Department of Little Island. Image: MNLA

More

The park’s imaginative design offers all New Yorkers and visitors a new public space that is whimsical, engaging and relaxing.

And thanks to a network of green infrastructure elements artfully integrated into the park’s landscaping and plazas, virtually all of Little Island is a rainwater sponge.

The Boulder Scramble is set between the planting and the sheet piling. Image: Steven L Cantor

Aerial views of Little Island from The Whitney. Image rights: Michael Grimm

Year: 2021
Owner:
Hudson River Park Trust (HRPT, land/water owner) – Pier 55/Little Island is government owned land
Location:
New York, New York, United States
Construction program:
government, park
Green roof type: Intensive
System: custom
Size:
104,544 sqm
Tilt:
1.5-60%
Test/Research: no
Access:
Accessible
Privacy: Publicity

Border plantings of Pennisetum ‘Karly Rose’. Image: MNLA

Credits:

ARCHITECT:
HEATHERWICK STUDIO

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT:
MNLA

STRUCTURAL/MEP ENGINEER:
ARUP

RECORDING ARCHITECT:
STANDARD ARCHITECTS

LITTLE ISLAND EXECUTIVE PROJECT MANAGER:
CELINE ARMSTRONG

CONSTRUCTION MANAGER:
HUNTER ROBERTS CONSTRUCTION GROUP

NAVAL ENGINEER:
MUSER RUTLEDGE

LIGHTING:
FISHER MARANTZ STONE

IRRIGATION:
IKI

SIGNAGE:
C & G PARTNERS

Spring shot of natural erosion control. Image: MNLA

See project profile

See the Profile of the Little Island Project see EVERYONE the photos and additional information about this particular project in the Greenroofs.com project database.

Aerial view of Little Island from The Standard. Photo credit Michael Grimm

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