An incredibly unique park is now open for visitors in New York City. Little Island, designed by Heatherwick Studio and Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, is a nature getaway and peaceful retreat for city dwellers after a difficult approval and construction process that took about eight years. The project is one of the first parks to open following the COVID-19 pandemic and is sure to help reintroduce the city to enjoying public space.
The most iconic feature of Little Island is the dramatic series of piles that hold up the park. “We were inspired by these piles and the civil engineering required to build structures that can withstand extreme river conditions,” explains Thomas Heatherwick of Heatherwick Studio. “Could we make these the heroes of our project, rather than hiding them? The vision that’s been built is based on taking these piles and turning their tops into dramatic planters that fuse together to make a richly-planted undulating landscape.”
The architects were certainly successful in celebrating this structural solution. Beautiful shots of the newly opened park showcase the range of movement made through their varying heights. This design system also helped the designers to include interesting shared programs like an amphitheater and a stage. Perhaps the greatest functional feature of Little Island is the incredible biodiversity it introduces to the area. Little Island includes almost 400 different species of grasses, shrubs, trees, and other flora.
Now that Little Island is officially completed, New Yorkers can find a beautiful nature getaway just next door. You can visit Little Island by reserving a spot on their website. If you can't make the trip yet, you can keep scrolling to find incredible moments of the park captured by photographers Timothy Schenck and Richard Silver.