South Street Seaport Center
Type: International Architectural Competition
Year: 2007/ 2008
Size: 2600 sqm
Client: Emerging New York Architects | Seamen's Church Institute
Location: New York City (USA)
Bettina Feldhausen, Stephan Schorn
The new Community Center for the Seamen's Church Institute is located on South St
Seaport in between Pier 17 and Brooklyn Bridge on lower Manhattan's historic waterfront.
The design concentrates on updating the communities cultural potential, which has not been fully utlilized to date. Parking and storage is blocking access to the waterfront at pedestrian level and turns the area into a little attractive place at present.
The design of the pier reflects the need this special area has, the existing cultural and historical potential is beeing complemented by the functions within the Community Center as well as on its rooftop.
While the external appearance of the project is dynamic in order to draw attention the interior is designed functionally. The visitor enters the building into a large open area which represents the lobby and gallery space. This multipurpose area can be devided into different spaces and used for a variety of occasions. Visitors enter all following functions from this central space.
The Center is combining the community with the city as it offers a great variety of functions for tourists as well as residents: be it the gallery with its changing exhibitions, the cafe which borders the South St, the Auditorium which can be used for public lectures, conferences of every kind or the Daycare Center which does not only provide childcare for the Seamen's Church members but also for the community.
Furthermore the rooftop represents an additional layer to the Center as well as to the city. The roof forms one element with the Peck Slip and reactivates the -at present- not usuable space. The continuous pavement reaches past the fdr and marks this new vivid and light area, which can be used as a communicative platform, market or meeting point within the community. Atop the Cultural House a new social outdoor space is being joined. It developes out of the existing Peck Slip and extends onto the building. The multifunctional rooftop with its breathtaking views on Manhattan as well as Brooklyn does not only contain space for the meditation gardens but as well for public viewing points, and outdoor theater and suchlike. This curved surfaced plaza creates a new public meeting point for locals and visitors alike.
The varying functions of the Community Center are being complemented by a boarding house wich is located at the North East side of the building and comprises ten high-end units. This extende living hotel maintains the Centers aim to bring internal and external occupants together and is therefore open to public as well as Seamen's Church members.
The new Community Center for the Seamen Church forms an additional landmark at the lower Manhattan historic waterfront and presents a highly public link to its neighborhood.