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Press Room

For immediate release:
April 2, 2007

Michelle Marquez, (212) 440-2200

Five Teams Selected for Design Competition for Governors Island Park and Open Space
Twenty Nine Teams From 10 Countries Including 65 Leading Firms Submitted Qualifications For First Stage Of Competition

GIPEC Announces Finalists at Public Forum on Governors Island Park Design

Downloads a slideshow of the finalists' previous work (in PDF)

The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC) today announced the selection of five teams of internationally renowned landscape architecture and architecture firms to participate in a Design Competition for Governors Island"s future public open space, including a great promenade around the Island"s perimeter; a new major park located on the southern portion of the Island, and improved park design within the Island"s northern Historic District.

The teams include firms from the United States, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France and Canada who have won acclaim for their designs, parks, plans and buildings around the world. A total of twenty nine teams, including sixty five firms from ten countries from the fields of landscape architecture, planning, architecture, art and engineering, responded to the Request for Statements of Qualification (RFQ) issued by GIPEC in October, 2006.

"Governors Island is an extraordinary place in one of the world"s most stunning locations," said Daniel Doctoroff, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding and Chairman of the Board, GIPEC. "The new park and promenade will transform it into a memorable destination for New Yorkers and visitors alike."

"We are so pleased that these internationally renowned teams will participate in the design competition and are gratified by the enormous interest the design community has demonstrated in the transformation of Governors Island," said Pat Foye, Chair, Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) of which GIPEC is a subsidiary.

The five finalist teams are listed in alphabetical order, with complete descriptions following:

  • Field Operations / WilkinsonEyre Architects
    New York, USA / London, United Kingdom
  • Hargreaves Associates/Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc.
    New York, USA / Los Angeles, USA
  • Ramus Ella Architects (REX) / Michel Desvigne Paysagistes (MDP)
    New York, USA / Paris, France
  • West 8 urban design & landscape architecture b.v. / Rogers Marvel Architects / Diller Scofidio + Renfro
    Rotterdam, The Netherlands/New York, USA
  • WRT LLC / Weiss/Manfredi / Urban Strategies. Inc.
    Philadelphia, USA / New York, USA / Toronto, Canada

The new public open space on Governors Island includes:

  • New parkland: 25 to 40 acres in the southwestern section of the Island, creating stunning recreation and contemplation areas that take advantage of the summer breezes and magnificent views – including a face-on view of the Statue of Liberty and the harbor traffic surrounding the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

  • Waterfront promenade: Encircling the Island, a new 2.2-mile public waterfront promenade offers multiple dramatic views of the New York skyline and New York Harbor, including the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Brooklyn Bridge.

  • Historic District public open spaces: All of the open space of the Historic District must preserve the district"s character and historically significant features. The Historic District landscapes include the 10-acre Parade Ground (also called the Glacis), Nolan Park and Colonels" Row.

Each of the five finalist teams will be invited to respond to a second-stage Request for Proposals (RFP) and to participate in a Design Competition. The teams will prepare analyses and visual representations of a range of conceptual and illustrative design ideas for the public open space of Governors Island. A jury of distinguished design professionals and officials will evaluate the submissions, and a selection is expected in Summer 2007. Public forums and exhibition, with opportunity for public input and presentation, will be part of the design process. A more detailed schedule of these sessions will be announced.

"We will be selecting a team through this process, not a final design," noted Leslie Koch, GIPEC President. "We will be reaching out to members of the public and many communities for their input both in this process and in the ultimate design of New York"s great new park in the heart of our City"s harbor."

Koch spoke at "New York"s Next Great Place: Governors Island Park Design Forum" a public forum co-sponsored by the Governors Island Alliance, the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter, the American Society Landscape Architects and the American Planning Association"s New York Metro Chapter in association with GIPEC and the National Park Service and participated in a discussion with distinguished panelists and audience members about the development of parks and open space on Governors Island.

Complete description of five finalist teams:

Field Operations / WilkinsonEyre Architects
Field Operations is an innovative landscape architecture, urban design and ecology practice based in New York City. Their expertise and strategic thinking is reflected in a diverse range of high-profile projects currently underway from the master planning and design of Fresh Kills "Lifescape" to the design of the first section of the High Line in New York City. Some of Field Operations" other significant projects are the Lake Ontario Park in Toronto, the Hengchun Botanical Garden in Taiwan, and the Botanical Garden at the University of Puerto Rico in San Juan.

WilkinsonEyre Architects is one of the UK"s leading architectural practices. Their portfolio of award-winning projects includes the parabolic pivoting Gatestead Millennium Bridge in Newcastle, UK and the Magna Project in Rotherham, UK.

Hargreaves Associates / Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc.
Hargreaves Associates is a recognized leader in the design of urban parks and waterfronts. They have earned numerous national and international awards for their work including awards for projects such as Crissy Field in San Francisco, Louisville Waterfront Park, and Chattanooga"s 21st Century Waterfront Park.

Michael Maltzan Architecture, Inc. (MMA) is an architectural firm located in Los Angeles California whose work for institutions, including the temporary exhibition facility, MOMA QNS, in Long Island City, and the UCLA Hammer and Billy Wilder Theater in Los Angeles, has been featured in numerous publications and recognized with design awards.

Ramus Ella Architects (REX) / Michele Desvigne Paysagistes (MDP)
Ramus Ella Architects (REX) is a New York City-based architectural firm with a reputation for completing buildings that are programmatically and technically innovative as well as resource conscious. As Partner-in-Charge at the Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), REX"s principal was one of the partners responsible for producing the Seattle Central Library in Seattle, WA.

Michel Desvigne is a landscape architect based in Paris, France and his firm, Michel Desvigne Paysagistes (MDP), is internationally recognized for its public space designs and collaborations with leading international architects. Among MDP"s most well-known urban public spaces are the Rue de Meaux garden in Paris, the Greenwich Peninsula Millennium Park in London, and the Noguchi Sculpture Garden at Keio University in Tokyo.

West 8 urban design & landscape architecture b.v. / Rogers Marvel Architects / Diller Scofidio + Renfro
Rotterdam-based, West 8 is a leading landscape and urban design practice in Europe comprised of landscape architects, architect, and engineers who design landscape interventions, urban plans, squares, parks and gardens. West 8 has an expertise in working with artists and local designers and a history of collaboration with world-class architects. They have designed projects all over the world including the Swiss Expo 2002 Masterplan, and most recently have won the Innovative Design Competition for the Toronto"s Central Waterfront.

Diller Scofidio + Renfro is an interdisciplinary studio that fuses architecture with the visual and performing arts. Current work includes the new Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the expansion of Lincoln Center in New York City. Works by Diller Scofidio + Renfro are in the permanent collection of MoMA, SFMoMA, the Fond National d"Art Contemporain, and the Musee del la Mode in Paris.

Rogers Marvel Architects, based in New York City, combines inventive materials, spaces, and forms to create memorable and efficient places for people to use. They have extensive experience in academic, institutional, and cultural projects, and they were responsible for the transformation of the "Elevated Acre" at 55 Water Street and the expansion of the Studio Museum in Harlem.

WRT LLC / Weiss / Manfredi / Urban Strategies. Inc.
WRT, LLC is a national interdisciplinary planning and design practice renowned for its innovative planning and environmental ethos. The firm"s noted large-scale waterfront projects include the Baltimore Inner Harbor, Trenton"s new Urban Park, and the Schuylkill River Park in Philadelphia.

Weiss/Manfredi"s multidisciplinary design practice, based in New York City, is known for its innovative integration of architecture, art, infrastructure, and landscape design. Their competition-winning Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park is nearing completion and will open in January 2007.

Urban Strategies, Inc. is a Toronto-based planning and urban design firm that believes in an integral relationship between planning and design. They are currently using their open space programming and planning expertise to shape the future of the Toronto Waterfront.

About Governors Island
Governors Island sits roughly 800 yards off the southern tip of Manhattan and half that distance from the Brooklyn waterfront. Owned by New York State until 1800, the island was conveyed to the federal government through several transactions from 1800 to 1903 and was subsequently occupied and managed by the US Army and the US Coast Guard. One of the most historic locations in New York, Governors Island was one of the first settlements of the Dutch West India Company back in 1624 and became a strategic coastal fortification in the early 1800s for the new American military. In the 20th century, Governors Island played host to a number of historic events, including the 1988 summit meeting between US President Ronald Reagan and USSR President Mikhail Gorbachev.

The 90-acre northern portion of the island has been designated a National Historic Landmark District as well as a New York City Historic District. In addition, five buildings in the historic district are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

About Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC)
The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation is responsible for the planning, redevelopment and ongoing operations for 150 acres of Governors Island. The National Park Service administers an additional 22 acres of the island designated as the Governors Island National Monument. A subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation, GIPEC is overseen by a Board of Directors appointed equally by the Governor and Mayor of New York. GIPEC seeks to make Governors Island a destination with great public open space and heritage tourism attractions, as well as education, conference and cultural arts facilities. For more information please visit

About Governors Island Alliance
Since 1995, the members of the Governors Island Alliance civic coalition, led by Regional Plan Association, have worked collaboratively to celebrate the Island"s rich history, create memorable parks and public spaces, and ensure appropriate reuse of the Island and its historic structures.

About AIA New York Chapter
Founded in 1857, the AIA New York Chapter is the oldest and largest chapter of the American Institute of Architects. The AIA New York Chapter is dedicated to three goals: design excellence, public outreach, and professional development.

About APA New York Metro Chapter
The American Planning Association"s New York Metro Chapter addresses planning issues that concern the physical, social, and economic environment in the metropolitan region encompassing New York City, Long Island and the Hudson Valley.

About American Society of Landscape Architects
Founded in 1899, the American Society of Landscape Architects is the national professional association representing landscape architects.