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Breathing Life into Industry: Long Island City Oyster

Location: Queens, NY, USA

Status: Design Development

Type: Urban Design


While the Queens Waterfront has known a steady retreat of its manufacturing sectors, LIC Oyster seeks to breathe new life to the area by weaving high-rise residential into a primarily industrial area. The project represents a new development model for New York City by designing connected public areas. LIC Oyster creates multiple nested domestic spaces in a diverse and formally-variegated field of commercial zones, which reimagines new ways of making a home in an increasingly dense and expensive city.

The building footprint occupies only 55% of the total site area, leaving a public park measuring over 2.5 acres on the site, unifying this mixed-used urban development. A diverse network of landscapes, with year-round outdoor and indoor amenities, includes a 7,000 square foot black box performance space, a waterfront ice skating rink that converts into a pool, a riverside bosque, a restored oyster-bed wetland, an eco-themed children’s playground, an open plaza for farmers’ markets, a sandy beach, and a ferry landing.

The local industrial aesthetic is reinterpreted throughout. Arches punctuate brick surfaces to create public gateways and swooping sky terraces, imparting an oyster shell’s distinctive outlines. These also create interlocking learning platforms where students can gain hands-on experience at innovative light manufacturing businesses that foster a curriculum of educational stewardship.

Additional project contributors include : Laura Del Pino, Jun Deng, Valentina Meloni, Youngeun Jung.