As Tropical Storm Irene roared toward New York last week, Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the order to evacuate Battery Park City (BPC), on the waterfront in Lower Manhattan. Now, as the development’s 13,000 residents make their way back, the largely unscathed neighborhood is about to pass a milestone. With two condominium towers nearing completion, every parcel in BPC has now been built out, fulfilling a master plan that has taken 32 years to realize.
Those towers are the 32-story Liberty Luxe and 22-story Liberty Green, both designed by Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn Architects (EE&K), a Perkins Eastman company. Along with the 43-story Goldman Sachs headquarters completed last year by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and an eight-story public school by Dattner Architects that was finished in time for the 2010 academic year, the buildings mark the final elements of a 92-acre plan first drafted in 1979. When it was conceived, the BPC scheme symbolized a pivotal moment in urban planning: the transition away from the Modernist “superblock” and a return to a more streets-and-blocks approach centered on attractive public spaces.