The Rooftop at Pier 17

On Lower Manhattan’s East waterfront, the Howard Hughes Corporation’s new Pier 17 stands as a prominent marker of the revitalized Seaport District NYC. Designed by SHoP, the four-story building, clad largely in glass, offers significant new retail and restaurant space, and is home to ESPN’s new live broadcast studios. The building features a 1.5 acre activated rooftop that will serve as a year-round community amenity, including a restaurant, outdoor bars and a venue for host concerts and events during the warmer months of the year.


Celebrating the new hub of public activity in a previously forgotten part of the city, L’Observatoire International created a lighting design for the facade, roof spaces, and all interior and exterior public spaces. The customizable scheme follows an annual and daily schedule to highlight the lunar cycle and feature special events and holidays throughout the year.


On the exterior of the building, the lighting is integrated into concealed fixtures in the reinforced glass facade that can be programmed with a single scheme or can be animated for a dynamic display. On the roof, a seasonal structure designed by Achim Menges / Menges Scheffler Architects, provides a backdrop for concerts and performance events. The canopy is made from a web of glass and carbon fibers that enclose ETFE domes in a hexagonal pattern. Light is integrated within the woven structure to form an illuminated whole. The lighting for this structure is designed to be fully programmable, corresponding with the beat of the music to create a unique ambiance for each performance. The result is a seamless balance between activity and light, a vibrant enclosure that expresses the pulse of the performance.


This lightshow can in turn be linked to the illumination of the building as a whole, transforming the entire glass structure into a glowing lantern, a luminous beacon for this new commercial and cultural destination.


The radiating jewel box emits energy and excitement to the surrounding neighborhood and becomes an inviting new gateway on the skyline, visible from across the water and connecting the Manhattan and Brooklyn waterfronts.

Photo Credits C. Taylor Crothers