The news that New York City’s de Blasio administration wanted to rezone the south side of Governors Island to compete with the ascendant Cornell tech campus on Roosevelt Island first broke in 2018, and today the Trust for Governors Island revealed what it plans to build there: an enormous climate solutions center.
The climate center would be a mixed-use hub intended to draw people to the island 24/7 and throughout the colder months. Renderings from WXY architecture + urban design envision what the 4.2-million-square-foot campus could look like.
It’s important to note that the Trust hasn’t landed an anchor university, research group, or company yet, but hopes the climate center would ultimately include “academic, commercial, non-profit, cultural, convening and hospitality facilities,” according to an announcement from the Trust. Regardless of the tenant, the center’s purpose will be to study the impacts of climate change (perfect for its island waterfront location) and to bridge science, policy, and communication. It includes dorms, offices, conference buildings or halls of some sort, laboratories, and interdisciplinary arts spaces. WXY’s renderings also show a possible greenhouse-like “Living Lab.”
The rezoning proposal is tentatively scheduled to start working its way through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process in October, and the Trust will be taking feedback from stakeholders, city residents, and officials over the coming months.
From the renderings, it looks like the climate solutions center would rise alongside West 8’s semi-recent addition, the wildly successful Hills built on the island’s southwestern tip and could require a beefed-up ferry system to accommodate the influx of new passengers. The center would also be split across both the island’s 6.5-acre Western Development Zone and 26.5-acre Eastern Development Zone.
“As we recover from the ongoing pandemic, New York City will continue to do what we do best—bring forward bold and creative solutions to pressing problems,” said Trust for Governors Island chair and former deputy mayor Alicia Glen. “As a city of islands with 520 miles of coastline, the devastating impacts of climate change remain one of the most urgent issues facing our communities. This exciting plan for Governors Island will bring a tremendous resource that not only represents an important step forward for the City’s recovery, but also acknowledges and builds upon our history as the global center for innovation and progress.”