2017 Honor Award

The Battery Perimeter, Bikeway, Oval and Woodland

Category: General Design

Landscape Architects:

Quennell Rothschild & Partners and Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners

www.qrpartners.com; www.starrwhitehouse.com

Project Team:

Beth Franz, RLA
Lead Designer, Senior Associate
Quennell Rothschild & Partners
Role: Landscape Architect

Laura Starr, FASLA, PLA, LEED AP
Partner
Starr Whitehouse
Role: Landscape Architect

Jeffrey Poor, PLA, LEED AP
Principal
Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners
Role: Landscape Architect

Warrie Price
President and Founder
The Battery Conservancy
Role: Client

Nancy Prince, ASLA
Deputy Chief for Design
New York City Department of Parks Recreation
Role: Client

Steven L. Grogg, P.E.
Sr. Vice President
McLaren Engineering Group
Role: Engineer

Piet Oudolf
Garden and Landscape Designer / Horticulture consultant
Piet Oudolf
Role: Other Consultant

Linnaea Tillett, PhD
Lighting Designer
Tillett Lighting Design
Role: Other Consultant

Stephen Doyle
Graphic Designer
Doyle Partners
Role: Other Consultant

Patty Miller
Monument Restoration
SUPERSTRUCTURES Engineers and Architects
Role: Other Consultant

Claire Weisz, FAIA
Principal-in-Charge
WXY Studio
Role: Architect

Michael Astram
Irrigation Consultant
Northern Designs LLC (Irrigation Design)

About the Project:

The Battery Perimeter, Bikeway, Oval, and Woodland, which are under the jurisdiction of the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, are the newest components in the transformation of The Battery from neglected asphalt to its original place as Manhattan’s starting point—active, diverse, and sustainable. The Perimeter negotiates the transition from city to sylvan retreat while streamlining circulation. New entrances align with city streets, frame views to Castle Clinton, and are indicated by restored and relocated monuments that entice visitors inside. The Bikeway is the missing link in the Greenway, while the Oval lawn, the only large public assembly area in Lower Manhattan, accommodates up to 8,000 people. This redesign reinforces the historic park’s role as a model for 21st-century urban resilience.

Location: 

Southern tip of Manhattan

Special Factors

“The Battery has become the bellwether for our neighborhood as we pulled together to survive the economic downturn of 2008, the aftermath of 9/11, and the post-Sandy recovery,” says Catherine McVay Hughes, former chair of Community Board 1. The ever-increasing density of Lower Manhattan means that the demands on open space are multi-faceted and require intelligent interweaving.

The Battery creates abundance on what is essentially a rooftop, covering an obstacle course of subterranean utilities, infrastructure (subway lines, a vehicular underpass, and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel) archaeology, and history. Paving, planting, drainage, monument placement and wall

and lighting fixtures required creative design solutions. With these invisible constraints come overlapping local, state and federal jurisdictions. In addition, the park attracts 8,000,000 visitors each year, requiring robust materials and maintenance. Finally, the clients’ mission adds an ambitious ecological dimension.

One way the project achieves resilience is through its selection of toxin-free plants. The horticulturist said, “The Battery has the responsibility to become a model of resilience. Many of our salt-tolerant plants survived the tidal surge of Sandy. Only 20% of the plants needed replacement.

Second, runoff was reduced (and circulation improved) by removing asphalt paths and increasing planted areas. 165 existing trees were protected by reduction of unnecessary paved areas and inclusion into larger contiguous wood areas. Other sustainable measures include the encouragement of pedal power, use of U.S. materials, LED lighting, and reuse of materials, providing opportunities for the clients to educate users about sustainability.

The ambition to set new standards in landscape architecture in celebration of New York City’s birthplace has created an environment where people who live or work nearby (30,000 new residents over the last ten years) come together with visitors from throughout the world.