The Battery Conservancy conceived and led the development of SeaGlass Carousel to provide children and adults a virtual underwater experience. The innovative aquarium carousel opened in August of 2015. Located in the midst of an urban waterfront park, SeaGlass was inspired by the ocean’s marine life and The Battery’s history as the original home of the New York Aquarium, which opened in 1896.
In the 1990s, much of The Battery was dark and deserted after sunset. When planning The Battery Bosque, The Battery Conservancy and its design team discussed the need for illumination to draw people into the park. SeaGlass was born.
The Battery Conservancy conceived and led the development of SeaGlass to give children and adults a virtual underwater experience. The innovative aquarium carousel opened in August of 2015. Located in the midst of an urban waterfront park, SeaGlass was inspired by the ocean’s marine life and The Battery’s history as the original home of the New York Aquarium, which opened in 1896.
To fulfill this mission, The Battery Conservancy worked with award-winning WXY architecture + urban design. Their creative team designed a majestic pavilion of curved glass and steel, inspired by the chambered nautilus.
World-renowned set designer George Tsypin, who staged The Little Mermaid on Broadway, created a mystical underwater adventure that enables the riders to “become” fish. Riders sit inside one of 28 fiberglass molded figures (two others are fully accessible), ranging in height from 6 feet to 13 feet. Internally illuminated with color-changing LEDs, each fish recalls the bioluminescence found deep in the ocean.
Four wave-inspired perennial gardens designed by Piet Oudolf were generously underwritten by the Tiffany & Co. Foundation. Together they embrace the SeaGlass pavilion with ornamental grasses and herbaceous perennials in soft shades of blue, purple, and pink. The fishtail terraces adjacent to the gardens, with custom-made shade structures, tables, and chairs, have become a popular destination with families and school groups for picnic lunches, relaxation, and special birthday parties which can be arranged through The Battery Conservancy office.
Design and Construction: $16 M
The design of SeaGlass was by The Battery Conservancy and its construction by the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation.
Architect: WXY architecture + urban design
Production Designer: George Tsypin Opera Factory
General Contractor: Pavarini McGovern
Ride and Pavilion Fabricator: Show Canada
Graphic Designer: Doyle Partners
Glass Engineering: FRONT
Structural, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, and Fire Protection Engineers: Buro-Happold
Civil and Ride Engineers: McLaren Engineering Group
Landscape Architect: Starr Whitehouse
Garden Designer: Piet Oudolf
Audio Design: Acme Professional / Solotech
Lighting Designer: Technical Artistry New York
Theatrical Electrical Contractor: Quantum Electric
Base Building Electrical Contractor: Arco Electric
Monolithic Curved Glass: Cristacurva
Construction Administration: The LiRo Group
SeaGlass is operated by NY Carousel Entertainment.
This project was made possible through a grant from the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, which is funded through Community Development Block Grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Battery Conservancy extends thanks to its generous private donors and for government funding from City of New York and New York State.
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