Inspired by the ocean’s beauty, The Battery’s history as the first home of the New York Aquarium, and a need for more light at the southern end of the park, an aquatic carousel featuring huge fish rather than the usual horses and chariots was created. Combined with digital projection, LED lighting and sound, the experience is like being submerged with bioluminescent fish. If you’ve never heard about or seen the stunning SeaGlass Carousel by WXY Architects, we thought you might like to.
WXY Architecture SeaGlass Carousel
One of the nation’s earliest public aquariums designed by powerhouse New York architectural firm McKim, Mead, and White opened in 1896 as the New York Aquarium. Open pools and towering glass tanks contained over 300,000 gallons of water that held exotic fish and other undersea specimens from around the world. The Aquarium welcomed 2.5 million visitors annually until it closed in 1941. Robert Moses called for the destruction of the aquarium building, describing it as “an ugly wart on the main axis leading…to the Statue of Liberty.” and most of the building was demolished in 1942.
It was in 1994 that The Battery Conservancy (TBC) was founded to rebuild and revitalize the park. Over the past few decades they’ve renovated or transformed most of the original buildings including an extensive renovation of The Statue of Liberty. Inspired by the ocean’s beauty and The Battery’s history – as well as a need to illuminate the southern end of the park, the SeaGlass carousel transforms the traditional ride structure into an instrument of the future with digital projection.
World-renowned set designer George Tsypin came up with the idea of an underwater adventure that enables the riders to “become” fish. His vision was brought to life by The Battery Conservancy and award-winning WXY architecture + urban design.
Inspired by the chambered nautilus, the 2,575 square foot spiraling pavilion of glass and steel brings art, architecture, light and music to the park.
The SeaGlass Carousel lacks the center pole of a traditional merry-go-round. Instead, the four turntables are driven by electric motors housed below the floor. Those riding the carousel sit inside any one of the 30 massive fiberglass fish, custom designed and fabricated by Show Canada.
Each fish is illuminated with color-changing LED lights and auto integrated audio systems to recall the bioluminescence found deep in the ocean.
The show’s underwater atmosphere is created through the “water effect” projected from a custom-designed helical light ring.
Awards for Architecture:
• Award of Merit, Society of American Registered Architects New York
• Award of Merit in Sustainable Design, Society of American Registered Architects New York
• Public Space Award, Interior Design Magazine and ICFF NYCxDESIGN
• Spirit of ABNY Award, Association for a Better New York
• Award of Merit – Institutional, AIANYS Design Awards
• Design Award of Honor, Society of Registered Architects National Awards
SeaGlass Carousel at The Battery was created in cooperation between The Battery Conservancy and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The following organizations are also part of the SeaGlass team:
Architect: WXY architecture + urban design
Production Designer: George Tsypin Opera Factory
General Contractor: Pavarini McGovern
Ride and Pavilion Fabricator: Show Canada
Graphic Design: 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
Landscape 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.
images and information courtesy of WXY Architects and The Battery unless otherwise noted