Dezeen Magazine

Heatherwick Studio's Pier 55 renamed Little Island

Thomas Heatherwick's Pier 55 park within New York's Hudson River has been renamed Little Island, as visuals and a video detailing the project's construction are released.

Updated details of the project were revealed today by the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, which is funding the project.

Now called Little Island, the project is currently taking shape at 55 Hudson Greenway on the Hudson River, just off the shoreline in New York's Chelsea neighbourhood.

Little Island Pier 55 Hudson River Park
Rendering by Luxigon

Heatherwick Studio's design comprises a total of 132 planters mushroom-shaped concrete columns that will rise above the water to create a new parkland.

"It's a joyous feeling to see Little Island rise up in the Hudson River, and now I can't wait for New Yorkers and its visitors to cross the bridge, leave the boisterous city behind, and play, lay back and be stimulated every which way by the Island," said media mogul Barry Diller, co-founder of Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation.

Little Island Pier 55 Hudson River Park
Rendering by Luxigon

New footage captures the cast-in concrete planters being lifted by cranes to sit atop piles in the water. They are designed to look like tulips that rise in varying heights – rising between 15 to 62 feet (4.5 to 18.9 metres) above the river to create a topographical landscape, and enable different views of the city.

Little Island will comprise areas to host community events, including performances, arts and educational programmes.

Little Island Pier 55 Hudson River Park

The British studio has worked with Signe Nielsen of Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects to design the 2.4-acre- green space to include lawns, paths and rolling hills. It is also set to be home to 100 species of trees and shrubs.

Renderings show that the park will be accessible from entrances on 13th and 14th Streets via elevated walkways.

Slated for completion in 2021, Little Island has encountered a number of stumbling blocks since it was first unveiled in November 2014.

The project, which is intended to replace an old pier, gained planning permission in 2016 but came up against a series of court challenges and permit issues the following year, which caused the costs to balloon from $35 million to $250 million.

It also faced opposition from advocacy group City Club of New York, which argued that the structure was not suitable for its proposed location in a protected estuary.

Little Island Pier 55 Hudson River Park
Rendering by Luxigon

Billionaire Diller – who runs the foundation backing the scheme with his wife, fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg – scrapped the project for a brief period following these issues.

Now well underway, the park will join a number of projects designed by Heatherwick for areas along the Hudson River, and near to the elevated High Line Park.

The designer's Lantern House residential towers are currently under construction just a few blocks further up the city's High Line, while his The Vessel staircase opened earlier this year in the Hudson Yards development, located north of the pathway's tip.