the new york wheel. staten island

CLIENT: NY Wheel. SCOPE OF WORK: Architecture. Interior Design. LOCATION: Staten Island, New York. STATUS: Design.

TEAM: Navid Maqami, Design Principal, S9 Architecture. Jonathan Cohn, Project Manager, Perkins Eastman.


This new passenger terminal will enhance the visitor experience of the New York Wheel by creating an anchor destination for entertainment, leisure, dining and retail on Staten Island’s revitalized waterfront. The project converts a commuter parking lot into a 70,000 sf mixed-use facility for passenger ticketing, queueing, and loading that also doubles as an expansive public park serving wheel riders and local residents alike. The terminal’s design will improve pedestrian access to the waterfront, linking the neighboring community of St. George with this marquee attraction of the redeveloped north shore. 

Architecture and landscape merge in the design of both terminal and site. The five-story building projects from street level as horizontal shelf wrapped in green parkland, bridging the transition to the waterfront 30’ below. Its sides are clad in ridged, buff-colored terracotta panels inspired by the columnar cliffs of the New Jersey Palisades. The vertical fins of the louvered façade are fixed in varied positions that dynamically catch light and shadow to provide a subtle backdrop for the observation wheel.

A network of stairways, ramps, and promenades mediates the grade differential between street and waterfront, offering multiple access points to the terminal building and its five-acre rooftop park. This lush green roof will be one of the biggest in the nation, with the capacity to accommodate large concerts and events. Throughout the landscaped 40-acre site, numerous plazas and terraces, seating areas, garden paths, and a playground will provide accessible, high-quality public space for the 3.5 million estimated annual visitors to the wheel. 

Indoor amenities feature exhibition and retail space, a flagship restaurant, theaters, and a food hall. The structure also incorporates parking for cars and busses, significantly increasing the capacity of the original commuter parking lot. Sustainable considerations include the use of naturalized landscapes, wind turbines, solar panels, and locally sourced materials.


AUGUST 13, 2015

" As Dumbo has become one of New York City’s most desirable and upscale neighborhoods, the hulking Empire Stores complex has been a persistent reminder of the neighborhood’s industrial past—before the boutiques, multimillion-dollar apartments, and Brooklyn Bridge Park. The complex—a series of seven buildings—dates back to the 19th century and was originally used to store dry goods, primarily coffee. For decades, it has been positioned in Dumbo like an impenetrable fortress—a barrier between the cobblestone streets and the landscaped waterfront. But that’s about to change. " -- Henry Melcher