2021 Merit Award

General Design

Waterline Square

New York, NY

Landscape Architect:


Project Team:

Landscape Architects: MNLA Team members MNLA: Molly Bourne, Greg Leonard, Martha
Desbiens, Rae Ishee, Daniel Sepsy
Architects: Executive Architect: Hill West Architects (All buildings) One Waterline Square: Richard Meier & Partners Architects (Champalimaud Design – Interiors)
Two Waterline Square: Kohn Pedersen Fox Assoc. (Yabu Pushelberg – Interiors)
Three Waterline Square: Rafael Vinoly Architects (Groves & Co. – Interiors)
Common Amenities: (Below Grade) Rockwell Group
Client: GID
Civil Engineering: Philip Habib Associates Structural Engineering: WSP Group (All buildings & Site)
Mechanical, Electrical Plumbing Engineering: WSP Group (All buildings & Site)
Geotechnical: Langan Engineering (All buildings) Mueser Rutledge (Riverside Dr.)
Environmental: Langan Engineering (All Buildings) Mueser Rutledge (Riverside Dr.)
Environmental Graphics: Langan Engineering (All Buildings) Mueser Rutledge (Riverside Dr.)
Environmental Permitting: Langan Engineering (All Buildings) Mueser Rutledge (Riverside Dr.)
Construction Manager: Tishman Construction
Site Lighting: HLB Lighting
Water Features: Waterline Studios (Designer), Delta Fountains (Contractor)
Landscape Contractor: Sponzilli Group

Waterline Square (1)

About the Project:

Waterline Square, which was once an underutilized city block, is a new civic focal point that serves a broader community more inclusive than its immediate residents. The Landscape Architect with the Design Team created a porous and engaged design by refuting the idea of the impenetrable residential block, offering community-driven programming, and rethinking the static relationship of towers to park. Extensive community engagement ensured design outcomes benefitting both the neighborhood and New York City at large.


This new destination park acts as a connection to the Hudson River park systems through a series of enlivened spaces. A cohesive and contextual open space celebrates the site’s natural history by embracing the landscape systems of water, topography, and planting.

Special Factors & Additional Information:

Drawing the Community In. The Landscape Architect created a design that extends the New York City grid physically and visually, resulting in an open and inviting space. Landscape becomes the extension of streetscape, then plaza, then park. In the heart of the project, choreographed fountain jets spray towards the sky and delight children as they splash in the plaza. A lawn becomes a flexible programmable event space, a place to picnic, or play while maintaining expansive views that capture the setting sun.


Connections. Waterline Square utilizes an open and fluid circulation plan to connect existing urban fabric while maintaining a generous permeability through the site. These pathways melt the scale of the superblock into intimate public gardens. Generous gathering spaces break down into a finer network of paths and gardens that step down towards the adjacent waterfront.


Celebrating Nature. As a reflection of the site’s natural history, the landscape and architecture appear to be carved from the geologic forces of wind and water. A long-vanished historic pre-settlement stream course became the inspirational transect for the new park. Through the dynamic 2.6 acre space, water emerges, interprets, transforms, and disappears as it moves towards the Hudson River. The planting design is inspired by regional ecosystem communities and brings together a yearly cycle of botanical events throughout the site; grounding the site in seasonality and year round respite which performs optimally over structure in an urban environment.


Thoughtful and imaginative planting design uses mostly native species that attracts pollinators and withstands climate stressors. The design reduces the amount of hardscape by maximizing water retention and minimizing heat island effect.


The early collaboration across disciplines resulted in a harmonious relationship between landscape and buildings resulting in a dynamic public space. Landscape elements successfully combine to create an inviting and livable neighborhood green.

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