New Amsterdam Pavilion


Welcoming 150,000+ Daily Visitors, Plaza Features Pavilion Designed by UNStudio, A Permanent Gift from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to New York City


On May 12th, 2011, the official opening of the Peter Minuit Plaza and the dedication of the New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion took place in Battery Park, New York. The ceremony was held at 10:30AM (EST) in Peter Minuit Plaza, and was attended by American and Dutch dignitaries, civic and business leaders, and key representatives of New York City's cultural and arts community.


Commissioned by The Battery Conservancy and developed in collaboration with the Parks Department and Department of Transportation, the New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion was made possible by a generous $2.3 million gift from the Kingdom of the Netherlands to New York City, in honor of four centuries of friendship and a mutual passion for the values of innovation and creativity, diversity and openness, entrepreneurship and progress. The site will be New York City's first true 21st century intermodal transportation hub - where bicycles, buses, the subway and water transportation intersect with cultural offerings in a singular expression of daring but lyrical design - and will convert an intersection traveled by more than 150,000 residents and visitors daily into Lower Manhattan's newest and most dynamic destination for cultural activity, entertainment, and enjoyment.



The Plein & Pavilion project was conceived by the Battery Conservancy to create an extraordinary 'outdoor living room' for spontaneous and scheduled activities, public markets, seating and shade, and a gleaming white, state-of-the-art pavilion for visitor information and delicious locally grown gourmet food. Designed by UNStudio in collaboration with Handel Architects LLP, New York serving as associate architect. The project's landscape was conceived by Parks Dept. Landscape Designer Gail Wittwer-Laird.


Where History Meets the Future

UNStudio's design for New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion creates a 5,000 square-foot, carefully programmed space located within Peter Minuit Plaza, housing regional organic food by Merchants Market, as well as the Alliance for Downtown New York's Visitor Information Booth. This highly sculptural pavilion stands as a gateway to the Battery's park and waterfront, with an expressive, undulating roofline and curving walls; a compact little building with the authority of a major landmark, evoking a flower opening to its surroundings. 
Every night at 12:00AM midnight, the New Amsterdam Pavilion will glow with an array of colors in tribute to Peter Minuit whose name translates to 'midnight.' 1626 consolidated the early settlements at the tip of Manhattan: a grouping that came to be known as New Amsterdam. This destination is, in the words of architect Ben van Berkel, "the ideal site for a permanent commemoration of 400 years of Dutch history in New York, because it is steeped in a sense of a shared past and looks directly toward the harbor where Henry Hudson sailed, but is also entirely focused on the future by virtue of its role as a modern transportation hub within the constantly changing scene of Lower Manhattan. This is a site where history meets the future."


Warrie Price of The Battery Conservancy said, "The Netherlands is a country that sets global standards for how cities and countries can regenerate themselves through the professional strength of innovative and talented designers, and through the force and beauty of the natural world. The Battery, where New York City was born, began its own revitalization with the work of famed Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, who created with us the largest perennial gardens in North America, free and open to the public. With the New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion, we are delighted to continue our mission of design excellence, privileged to expand our connection to the great tradition of Dutch design, and honored to bring to New Yorkers and guests from around the world the joy of nature, the pleasure in community and the value of great modern architecture."


About Peter Minuit Plaza

Home to the New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion, the new Peter Minuit Plaza recalls the city's earliest days as Nieuw-Amsterdam, while heralding the future with cutting-edge architecture, modern amenities and 21st Century technology. This rare park/transit meeting ground defines a new era in public space design and construction. Designed by Gail Wittwer-Laird of NYC Parks, the plaza weaves together trees, gardens, art, food and information with ferries, subways, buses, bikes and pedestrians. It also demonstrates the commitment of the City, State and Federal governments, and a partnering Conservancy in creating a unique standard-setting park.

The Dutch firm of UN Studio, headed by Ben Van Berkel, was selected to design the New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion, a dramatic public hub at the Battery to greet millions and pay tribute to the Enduring Relationship Between the Netherlands and New York. At a press conference with Dutch officials held to announce plans for the joint Dutch-American 2009 celebration of the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s arrival in New York Harbor, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg confirmed that Peter Minuit Plaza at The Battery will become the site of a major new public destination.

New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion is a dramatic space where more than 5 million people a year, including 70,000 daily commuters and 2 million annual tourists, can find an extraordinary “outdoor living room” for spontaneous and scheduled activities, public markets, seating and shade, and an iconic state-of-the-art pavilion for food and information, all designed by internationally celebrated Dutch architect Ben van Berkel of UNStudio, Amsterdam. The Plein & Pavilion will be unique among the city’s many public spaces – a landscaped intermodal transportation hub of the 21st century, where bicycles, buses, the subway and water transportation intersect with cultural offerings in a singular expression of daring but lyrical design.

UNStudio’s initial conceptual design for New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion called for a 5,000 square-foot, carefully programmed space located within The Battery’s Peter Minuit Plaza, named for the enterprising Dutch Director-General who in 1626 consolidated the early settlements at the tip of Manhattan – a grouping that came to be known as New Amsterdam. This position is, in the words of architect Ben van Berkel, “the ideal site for a permanent commemoration of 400 years of Dutch history in New York, because it is steeped in a sense of a shared past and looks directly toward the harbor where Henry Hudson sailed, but is also entirely focused on the future by virtue of its role as a modern transportation hub within the constantly changing scene of Lower Manhattan.  This is a site where history meets the future.”

To express the interplay of history and future, the landscape architects of New York City Department of Parks & Recreation Manhattan Capital Projects conceived a stone-paved civic platform – plein, in Dutch – with walkways featuring engraved quotations from Russell Shorto’s acclaimed book The Island at the Center of the World. A carved stone map of Castello’s New Amsterdam graces the entrance to the Plein to provide historical context.

Within the open space of the Plein, visitors can find UNStudio-designed seating and tables. These surround a highly sculptural pavilion with an expressive, undulating roofline and curving walls – a compact little building with the authority of a major landmark, evoking a flower opening to its surroundings. The pavilion is equipped with an electronic facade LED system that allows for a constantly changing light show at night, “an experience that will carry the animation and drama of the day into the evening,” according to van Berkel.

Van Berkel’s pavilion offers, according to Warrie Price of The Battery Conservancy, “a superb culinary experience, great visitor orientation information and materials, and an iconic, recognizable spot for residents and visitors to rendezvous.” New Amsterdam Plein also features berms and perennial garden planting beds, designed by New York City Parks & Recreation using the color palette of Piet Oudolf, who created The Battery Bosque Gardens and the Battery’s Gardens of Remembrance.

New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion is made possible by a major grant from the government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to The Battery Conservancy, as part of the NY400 celebration and in honor of the enduring relationship between New York and Holland. Handel Architects LLP, New York, served as associate architect, working in collaboration with UNStudio. “It is our hope that New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion will become a permanent Dutch legacy in New York City and a nod to the future as well as our shared history,” commented Gajus Schltema, Consul General of the Netherlands in New York. “It marks the celebration of 400 years of friendship between our nation and this great American metropolis, with which we share a passion for the values of innovation and creativity, diversity and openness, entrepreneurship and progress.”

“This 400th anniversary is an opportunity for us to join with our partners in the Netherlands to celebrate our city’s heritage,” said Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe. “New Amsterdam Plein and Pavilion at The Battery will enliven our celebration and focus attention on the place where the Dutch settled.  I would like to thank the Kingdom of the Netherlands, The Battery Conservancy,  Handel Architects and designer Ben Van Berkel and UNStudio for bringing this dynamic cultural attraction to Lower Manhattan.”

Warrie Price, President of The Battery Conservancy, said, “The Netherlands is a country that continues to regenerate itself through the professional strength of its innovative and talented designers, and through the force and beauty of the natural world.  The Battery, the birthplace of New York City,  began its revitalization with the work of famed Dutch garden designer Piet Oudolf, who created with us the largest perennial gardens in North America, free and open to the public. With New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion, we are delighted to continue our mission of design excellence, and honored to bring to New Yorkers and guests from around the world the joy of nature, the pleasure in community and the value of great modern architecture.”

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