New York judge rejects lawsuit against Thomas Heatherwick's floating Pier 55

by Kim Megson | 15 Apr 2016

A floating park designed by Thomas Heatherwick for New York’s Hudson River has overcome a major hurdle after a judge in Manhattan dismissed a lawsuit seeking to halt the project.

According to the New York Times, civic group City Club of New York filed the action, claiming the US$130m (€1115.4m, £91.8m) project was not transparent, had not been subjected to enough public scrutiny, and should face a new environmental review.

However, Justice Joan B. Lobis of Manhattan’s State Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit, paving the way for operator the Hudson River Park Trust to proceed with the project, which is being largely bankrolled by the foundation of billionaire US businessman and media executive Barry Diller.

Pier 55 will be situated 186ft (57m) away from the bank of the Hudson River and will be accessible by an undulating platform. More like an island, the pier will be a fully fledged 1.1-hectare (2.7 acres) park, with three performance venues, a 700-seat amphitheatre and wooded outdoor spaces.

The structure will be built to replace Manhattan's ageing Pier 54. Construction is scheduled to begin at some point in 2016. Completion is anticipated in late 2018 or early 2019.

According to the designer’s Heatherwick Studio: “The pier will be a place of discovery, where visitors can wander and wonder, finding something new around every corner and places to lounge, eat lunch, or just lie in the grass.”

According to the Times, City Club is considering appealing the judge’s ruling, with its president Michael S. Gruen saying “this is not a license to proceed yet.”

In a statement, Diller said: “I’m so glad we can get back to the work of building a great park and performance centre for the people of New York and all those who come to visit.”

Heatherwick is no stranger to water-bound structures, with plans for his London Garden Bridge edging towards realisation despite provoking similarly heated opposition from some quarters.

Despite, or perhaps because of, the unorthodox and contentious nature of some of his projects, the British designer will next week collect a lifetime achievement prize at the 2016 Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards for “defying the conventional classification of design disciplines.”

Pier 55  Thomas Heatherwick  Hudson River  New York  Manhattan  Barry Diller 
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Heatherwick to design New York's 'Pier 55'

A floating park designed by Thomas Heatherwick for New York’s Hudson River has overcome a major hurdle after a judge in Manhattan dismissed a lawsuit seeking to halt the project. According to the New York Times, civic group City Club of New York filed the action, claiming the US$130m (€1115.4m, £91.8m) project was not transparent, had not been subjected to enough public scrutiny, and should face a new environmental review.
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The 1.1-hectare (2.7 acres) park will have three performance venues, a 700-seat amphitheatre and wooded outdoor spaces
/ Image by Luxigon
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