THE NEW YORK WATERFRONT: EVOLUTION AND BUILDING CULTURE OF THE PORT AND HARBOR
Exhibition Design / Archive Consulting / Research / Publication

 
 
 

In 1991, Kevin Bone’s building technology class at Cooper Union studied the New York City waterfront and the particular building problems posed by the maritime environment. Students explored seawalls, pier sheds, and the reshaping of Manhattan Island. The waterfront was on the verge of huge changes (which we are witnessing now) and the need to understand the context of that change was seen as critical. The research uncovered the archives of the former Department of Docks, a treasure of urban records. Cooper Union, in association with the New York City Municipal Archives, worked for three years to relocate, clean, stabilize, catalogue, conserve and study the drawings and photographs.

In 1994 following the restoration of the Department of Docks Archive, Cooper Union presented, The New York Waterfront Exhibition. 

The waterfront environs were examined from an interdisciplinary point of view and included studies of ecology, history, architecture, engineering, construction methods, land use and the future of the modern public works projects. The exhibition looked at contemporary waterfront planning, the radical transformations of the estuary, the evolution of the landforms, and the unique maritime industrial building culture that was characteristic of New York’s City’s waterfront architecture.

Bone and the Cooper Union team published The New York Waterfront: Evolution and Building Culture of the Port and Harbor. (Monacelli Press, 1999).