While New York City has long boasted a famous skyline, of late there has been renewed focus at ground level, specifically along the city’s riverbanks. The East River Waterfront Pier 15 and Esplanade, designed by SHoP Architects, is a recent part of this renewal.
To make the esplanade safer and more accessible in the evenings, Tillotson Design Associates employed a variety of lighting interventions. First, to deal with FDR Drive’s hulking bridgework, the firm used concealed T5 fluorescent sources to wash the painted, east-facing girders in an ambient lavender glow that softens the otherwise obtrusive steel skeleton.
To guide visitors along the esplanade path, LED light slots were installed in the benches located at intervals along the new hard- and soft-scaped areas.
To give the renovated stretch of promenade an identity, LED strips were added to the river-facing vertical handrail supports, making their soft purple light and that of the bridge girders appear as two ribbons visible from the opposite shore.
A new pavilion at Pier 15 is both a resting point for pedestrians and cyclists and a community gathering space.
The new pavilion includes a stadium seating area adjacent to the water’s edge and ceiling of LED light points above.
Linear fluorescents serve as the pavilion ceiling's source of illumination. Its glow provides enough light for the pier without interfering with the view of the city skyline.