More than 70,000 daily commuters and two million annual tourists pass through the New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion at Peter Minuit Plaza, a vibrant transportation hub where ferries, buses, trains, cars, bicycles and pedestrians merge at the tip of Manhattan. Peter Minuit, the plaza’s namesake, was the second director general of the colony of New Amsterdam c. 1626, and best known as the man who brokered the deal with the natives to “share” the island of Manhattan.
Peter Minuit Plaza was first created in 1952 when a portion of Battery Park was de-mapped to accommodate the then new South Ferry Terminal. In 1999 when the new Whitehall Ferry Terminal was designed a portion of the park closest to the water was de-mapped and the streets in between the traffic islands were re-mapped as parkland to create once more a unified park parcel.
Today, UNStudio’s design for New Amsterdam Plein & Pavilion has created 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 sculptural 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. UNStudio incorporated Corian, an innovative design material developed by DuPont and here thermoformed to render exceptionally daring horizontal and vertical surfaces that contribute to the Pavilion’s iconic impact.
Every night at 12:00AM midnight, the New Amsterdam Pavilion glows 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.