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UN/Governors Island
New York Harbor

In 1996, the federal government offered the no-longer-needed Governors Island to New York City for the token sum of $1 on the condition that the City submit a suitable proposal for its redevelopment. At the time, a number of proposals were put forward, ranging from benign and uninspired (a housing development) to blatantly commercial (a casino resort), and the Island's future appeared to be in limbo.

We believed that the Island's geographic and symbolic prominence in the Harbor called for a use that would benefit the public in a larger sense and put it on par with the other symbols of freedom and democracy in the New York Harbor. The historically significant Island is also the largest and most desirable piece of land that the City would have at its disposal any time soon. In 1998 we proposed to make Governors Island home to the United Nations and an Institute of International Studies, as well as a public park. Over the next two years we developed this design for the project.