Committed to opening up NYC’s waterfront to the public, the Hudson River Park Trust transforms the West side’s old shipping docks — once used to bring in cargo into the city — into elongated recreational spaces, connected by a green promenade. With several piers already completed, the park board recently chose Inhabitat-fav LOT-EK’s design for Pier 57, located outside Chelsea. The architecture firm proposed a waterfront attraction to be constructed of refurbished shipping containers, and decked out with a rooftop for watching films, flexible green space, open-air public market, and underwater educational and exhibition space.

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We know and love LOT-EK for their uber-cool shipping container retail store design for Puma, recently seen in Boston. However, the Hudson River Park Trust and community were slightly more weary about if the shipping containers would comply with building codes, not to mention if the shipping containers would make the interior dingy and uninviting. Fortunately, we heard from The Architect’s Newspaper that the success and popularity of Puma City in Boston changed their minds and swayed their decision.

The proposed structure will include 170,000 square feet for work spaces, ideally rented out to local artisans, and a public market for selling their wares. LOT-EK (and developer YoungWoo & Associates) brought in Urban Space Management to help manage their proposed lively and eclectic mix of renters. Below the water levels, the architects propose an additional 90,000-square-foot “Underwater Discovery Center” which includes exhibition and education spaces.

The development looks HUGE, however, the proposal is a rather thoughtful mix of recreational and cultural spaces. All arranged in re-purposed shipping containers, this highly-public project is perhaps proof that environmentally and socially conscious design can be mainstream. Although we know it will be years before this pier-park will be complete, we feel quite smug over the design’s approval by the Hudson River Park Trust.

+ LOT-EK Architects

+ YoungWoo & Associates

+ Urban Space Management

Via Curbed and Archpaper