by Laura Matiz
News about futuristic designs in New York City bring out our skepticism, but when the Hudson River Park Trust and The Diller – Von Furstenberg Family Foundation officially announced a partnership to build a world-class public park and performance space on the site of the deteriorating Pier 54, the possibility became more bankable. It helps that Barry Diller and his wife Diana Von Furstenberg have pledged $130 million to build the park designed by British architect Thomas Heatherwick.
The park will be called Pier55 — not Pier 54 — and will be accessible from the West Village around 14th Street. Construction is slated to begin in 2016, but the project must still pass public reviews and environmental impact studies.
The whimsical design by Heatherwick Studios features an undulating landscape on mushroom-like supports. Some renderings recall the otherworldly landscapes created by the artist Roger Dean in the 1970s for the Yes album covers. The park will include three performance spaces on the 2.7 acres. Thomas Heatherwick talked about his inspiration in an interview with Fast Company:
"...let these tough river piles come upwards and actually be the heroes of the project, rather than be hidden [under a pier], and let each one grow into a planter at its head that could hold a piece of horticulture."