Guest Contribution by Pascal Panagiotidis
400 years of friendship between Netherlands and New York City requires more than a simple celebration.
The Netherlands’ Government wish to strengthen the friendship bonds with New York couldn’t be expressed any better.The New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion by Dutch architect Ben van Berkel/ UNStudio, commissioned by the Battery Conservancy, is a gift from the Netherlands to New York in honour of 400 years of friendship. Situated just outside Battery Park in Manhattan is expected to attract about 6 million visitors on an annual basis. The location was not chosen in a random way; it’s the spot that looks directly to the harbour where Henry Hudson – the famous English navigator who explored the Hudson River and laid the foundation for Dutch colonization of the region- sailed.
The Pavilion’s exterior part including the roof is painted in a polished white color allowing the structure to glow during the day whilst the LED lighting makes possible to do so during the night as well, “an experience that will carry the animation and drama of the day into the evening,” according to van Berkel. The sidewalls are fully transparent through the glass surface providing this way a clear view of the interior part to the visitor. With its simple materials like steel, glass and wood the Pavilion is forming a four winds radiate from a center oculus which is punctuated by polished aluminum grill work, facilitating the ventilation of the building.
The wavy shape of the structure allows the creation of different facades, each one serving a different purpose. This way one facade stands as an information center, the other one acts as a information point for events and happenings in Netherlands, another provides food and beverage to the visitors. This way the Pavilion will be much more than a meeting point for all New Yorkers and tourists; it will also serve as a tribute to the common history and shared values.
The part of Battery Park's Peter Minuit Plaza which will be renamed New Amsterdam Plein (plein is Dutch for civic plaza or square). The New Amsterdam Pavilion will offer, according to Warrie Price, Founder and President of The Battery Conservancy, “a superb culinary experience, great visitor orientation information and materials, and an iconic, recognizable spot for residents and visitors to rendezvous.”
The New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion is made possible by a grant from the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to The Battery Conservancy as part of the NY400 celebration and in honour of the enduring relationship between New York and Holland. Handel Architects LLP, New York, serve as the executive architect, working in collaboration with UNStudio. Buro Happold joined the team for engineering & sustainability consultancy and worked with UNStudio on the lighting design.
New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion, Battery Park, New York, USA, 2008 - 2009
UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Caroline Bos with Wouter de Jonge, Christian Veddeler and Kyle Miller, Jan Schellhoff, Wesley Lanckriet, Arndt Willert
Advisors: Handel Architects, New York (Executive Architect) // Gary Handel, AIA, D. Blake Middleton, FAIA, LEED AP, Stephen Matkovits, AIA, LEED AP, Mark Morris
Lighting Design and Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing and Fire Protection Engineering: Buro Happold