Pier 57: West Side Story

The public will recognize Google and the James Beard Foundation, but Bendheim’s channel glass is the unofficial star of $410 million redevelopment of Manhattan’s Pier 57. The restoration and revitalization project was designed by Handel Architects and created 350,000 square feet of mixed-use space on the midcentury structure, with an additional 50,000 square feet on the ground floor for public amenities.

Pier 57 in New York features 6,400 square feet of Bendheim channel glass in the company’s SF60 frame system that was installed by David Shuldiner Inc. Photo credit: Michael Young

“As a new structure built on a historic building, we wanted the pavilion on the roof of the Pier to read as a light intervention, both in material selection and the language of design. The channel glass achieves this balance for us by acting as a diffuser of light and also in its industrial appearance–complementing the nature of a historic shipping pier. The channel glass allowed us to have a cohesive design by providing the flexibility between translucent and transparent finishes,” said Jessica Levine, senior associate at Handel Architects.

The first thing people will see at Pier 57 are the walls made of 6,400 square feet of Bendheim channel glass in the company’s SF60 frame system and installed by David Shuldiner, Inc. The walls of these ground-floor level spaces are primarily made of Clarissimo glass, a clear material that Bendheim says allows extensive river views.

Walls of the second story offices and other selected panels are made of glass with Bendheim’s 504 Rough Cast texture. Fitting for Google, an anchor-tenant of the facility, the translucent finish for the glass shields the workspace from glare while creating a glowing exterior.

“We are proud to participate in the ongoing revitalization of New York City, including this important development. Our channel glass allowed the architects to build walls that are both functional and beautiful, making the most of Pier 57’s spectacular setting on the Hudson,” said Robert Jayson Bendheim co-owner.

Low-E coatings throughout the building minimize the amount of ultraviolet and infrared light that is allowed to pass through the glass walls, while maximizing the transmission of visible wavelengths.

The building’s rooftop park, nearly two acres in size and open to the public, is being billed as the largest of its kind in New York City and the venue will also provide outdoor screening space for the annual Tribeca Film Festival.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Pier 57 was originally completed in 1954 as a project of the New York City Marine and Aviation Department. It was first used as a shipping terminal for the Grace Line steamship company and was the largest dock ever built by the City of New York. With the decline of maritime shipping in New York, the pier became a parking garage for New York City Transit buses in 1969, before closing altogether in 2003. The Hudson River Park Trust, a public benefit corporation established in 1998 to develop and operate public park space along Manhattan’s West Side shoreline, began efforts to redevelop the pier in 2008. The current project represents a significant public-private collaboration, with contributors including Google, RXR, Young Woo & Associates, The Baupost Group and Jamestown in addition to the Hudson River Park Trust and the City and State of New York.

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