The East 34th St Ferry Terminal is a multi-modal public transit hub linking NYC Citi Bike, NYC MTA, Taxi and Ferry Boat connections between Manhattan and the East River. The Ferry Terminal strengthens the City’s sustainable waterfront transportation system and encourages the public use of Pier 34, the urban riverfront and the adjacent land along the East River Esplanade. This public project was commissioned by the NYC EDC, the NYC DOT, and the Parks Department and was reviewed and approved with five NYC Community Boards along the East River.

The Ferry Terminal design is guided by principles of resilient or “soft “infrastructure where architecture, natural eco-systems, and digital networks are integrated by design. The use of steel is minimized through an innovative lightweight triangulated column structure and a tensile textile lenticular roof canopy, the first in the United States. The project is constructed with digitally fabricated building components that were shop-built and transported on-site for rapid construction. The reflective and translucent materials of the Ferry Terminal architecture reflect the changing, natural effects of light and water. The project harnesses New York City’s underutilized Maritime Global Positioning System for public use to provide intelligent real-time transportation scheduling (ITS) and public WI FI. An interactive environmental sensor system, created specifically for this project, monitors the tide levels, water speed and current direction of the East River Estuary. These flows of water are made public through subtle changes in the color and direction of LED lighting in the Terminal’s roof canopy, creating a new civic urban infrastructure.

Date: 2003 - 2012
Status: Completed
Location: New York City, NY
Design Team:
Frano Violich, FAIA; Managing Principal
Sheila Kennedy, FAIA; Principal Consulting on Design
Veit Kugel Dipl Ing, Senior Associate; Project Designer
Tonya Ohnstad, Ted Steinemann, Sloan Kulper IDSA, Jason O'MARA, Heather Micka-Smith
Architect: Kennedy & Violich Architects, Ltd
Structural Engineer Roof: Schlaich Bergermann & Partner LP
Marine Structural & Civil Engineer: McLaren Engineering Group
MEP Engineer: Lakhani & Jordan Engineers
Security: Cosentini Associates
Landscape Architect: Ken Smith Landscape Architects
Interaction Design: Small Design Firm, Inc.
Photographer: John Horner

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