Liberty Island, New York Harbor, New York, USA
FXCollaborative’s renovation of the new Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island in New York Harbor is a LEED Gold certified, 26,000-square-foot museum that integrates resiliency measures and respects the site’s historical significance and ecological and environmental impact.
Quennell Rothschild & Partners designed the museum’s surrounding landscape.
The Statue of Liberty Museum won a recent 2021 Green Good Design® Award from The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies and The Chicago Athenaeum.
Opened to the public on May 16, 2019, the Statue of Liberty Museum uplifts the experience of the island for all visitors, accommodates heavy and continuous pedestrian traffic year-round, and extends and adds to the island’s open space, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the beloved international monument.
The Statue of Liberty, “Liberty Enlightening the World,” is known the world over, and its torch is as much a universal symbol of enlightenment, freedom, and democracy as it is a welcoming beacon to all.
Located at the opposite end of the island from Lady Liberty herself, the Statue of Liberty Museum is a garden pavilion that welcomes all of the island’s 4.3 million annual visitors of all ages, nationalities, and ethnicities to spread the story of the Statue of Liberty, her creation, and her significance.
The museum’s centerpiece is the original torch that graced the Statue of Liberty for nearly 100 years, framed by 22-foot-high glass walls with a silk-screened dot pattern that deters bird impacts and ensures their safety.
The Statue of Liberty Museum achieved LEED Gold certification under the LEED BD+C: New Construction v3—LEED 2009 rating system.
The ecological design features a balanced approach that:
Reduces the impact of the museum on the natural world and the natural world’s impact on the museum.
Minimizes energy and water use through architectural, mechanical, and landscape strategies. Enhances the site with multiple planted areas, green roof, and bird-friendly glass.
Uses local materials that reduce construction transportation energy.
Limits maintenance and repair through flood resilience measures and strong, durable materials that withstand a harsh saltwater environment.
Integrates the building with a landscape design and native plantings that engage the iconic museum with the site.
The museum is envisioned as an extension of the island’s landscape, establishing a naturalized landscape “lifted” above the formal mall, with materials native to the island and used in the original construction of the Statue of Liberty and Fort Wood.
Merging landscape and building, the museum is topped by a 14,000-square-foot green roof with an 8-inch layer of soil, planted with native meadow grasses that create a natural habitat for local and migrating birds.
Boundaries between the building and landscape are blurred, and a sweeping staircase leads from the main axis connecting the museum to the statue up to a dramatic granite roof terrace that provides unobstructed views of Lady Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, and New York Harbor.
High-performance systems, highly insulated walls, extensive thermal bridge mitigation, and high thermal mass conserve energy. Glass orientation is optimized to minimize solar heat gain, and the museum incorporates radiant floor heating, demand-control ventilation, high-efficiency lighting, and low-flow plumbing fixtures.
The concrete walls, floor, and roof are insulated from the outside, enabling the material’s thermal mass to maintain interior temperatures and minimize the effects of outdoor temperature swings.
Glazing and door systems include enhanced thermal features such as warm edge spacers, reduced
curtainwall attachment bridging, and a small number of Passive House level window frames.
The window-to-wall ratio is a low 24.8%, and there are no windows or entrances facing predominant winter winds at the building’s western exposure.
Heating and cooling systems utilize expanded seasonal temperature set-points to avoid over conditioning, demand-control ventilation controlled by carbon dioxide sensors provide fresh air efficiently, and radiant floor heating provides comfortable heat and prevents downdrafts.
The building is designed to withstand hurricane-force winds and is elevated above the 500-year flood plain to prevent damage from extreme weather events. With the primary floor slab elevated, 84 rectangular cutouts allow floodwaters to flow freely into the space below, reducing the risk of pressure on the structure.
Extensive stormwater mitigation strategies are also used throughout the site. The green roof super-insulates the building by capturing and filtering stormwater in all but the most severe rain events, and the rain garden and infiltration trenches maximize on-site percolation while collecting additional runoff.
Native vegetation, including water-efficient and salt/wind-tolerant trees, shrubs, and perennials, preserve and enhance the site’s ecological habitat and ensure long-term sustainability. Nuts, seeds, and fruits produced by the plantings will offer essential foods for birds and other wildlife.
Durable materials withstand high visitor traffic and the harsh, windswept, maritime setting in New York Harbor.
The building utilizes a high percentage of locally extracted and manufactured materials, such as the signature Stony Creek granite from a quarry in Connecticut (the stone which is NSC 373 Gold certified), castin-place concrete from a plant a few miles from the site in New Jersey, precast concrete and steel from Eastern Pennsylvania, and the curtainwall system fabricated in New York.
14.7% of material costs were from regional sources, 11.7% of the material cost was from recycled sources, and 92.6% of construction waste was recycled or salvaged.
Project: The Statue of Liberty Museum