More renderings take us inside SHoP’s Pier 17 plan

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Inside the new Pier 17, as planned by architects. ()
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Nancy Scola

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On Friday, we told you about new plans for Pier 17 at South Street Seaport presented by the downtown architecture firm SHoP.

Past plans for the pier, now operated by the Howard Hughes Corporation, have failed.

But last week the firm's designs won plaudits from local community board members, who, by one's own admission, "don't applaud a lot of things."

In the architectural world, SHoP is the au courant downtown Manhattan firm getting attention for carving out a place somewhere between academia's soaring ambitions and cut-to-order construction shops.

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But SHoP is also something of a New York City start-up of a piece with the city's burgeoning tech culture, what with its focus on using technology not so much to collaborate but to fabricate. For instance, the large housing complex they designed as part of the Nets Arena at Atlantic Yards (the Barclay Center, now) are digitally-assisted prefabrications more in the spirit of the Eames' than that of cut-rate developers. SHoP's computer-made designs include human-scale design elements not always seen in the built urban environment.

New close-up and interior renderings of the project reveal a design that attempts to recreate a bustling New York City waterfront pier, if that pier were remade using the most appealing wood, metal, and glass. And, perhaps, a bit of video-game designer flair: As renderings of what Pier 17 very likely will look like, they're news. But they're also kind of fascinating just as renderings.

We've got a few more to show you. Click on any of the images to enlarge them.

Here is the main rendering showing the whole development from the East River looking inland. Glass curtain walls and lots of exposed structural work, and stairways and pier decking, give the whole thing a shipboard feel: 

Inside, what now looks little different from a typical suburban mall is transformed into something, well, distinctly high-end:

A closeup of the curtain wall gives a better idea of how the parts relate. If you've spent time along the edges of the current Pier 17 development you have an idea what a difference this is.