Skip to main content

Designer fallow field in Battery Park City

The Irish Hunger Memorial is today's Archtober Building of the Day.  We first encountered the memorial after arriving at the Battery Park City Ferry Terminal from Jersey City.

The memorial, designed by artist Brian Tolle, landscape architect Gail Wittwer-Laird, and architect 1100 Architect to honor and to educate about the 1845 - 1852 Irish famine, consists of "an authentic Famine-era cottage" and "a rugged landscape thickly planted with native flora, plants often found growing fallow fields."  The plant palette includes bearberry, blackthorn, Burnet rose, cross-leaved heath, foxglove, gorse, Ling heather, soft rush, and yellow flag iris.

The memorial's landscape reminds me of building-less parcels that are spontaneously vegetated.  Nany M. Page and Richard E. Weaver, Jr. in Wild Plants in the City (Arnoldia, Vol. 34, No. 4, 1974) write,
Where do these seeds come from?  Some, of course, already may be present in the soil of a new lot, and merely need to be brought closer to the surface through cultivation or bulldozing in order to germinate.  Other seeds are carried into a new site with the fill used to cover the foundation of a demolished building, or in the topsoil of landscape planting.  Still others...are equipped with silky parachutes which allow them to float on wind currents from surprising distances.  Heavier seeds are dropped by nearby trees, and seeds contained in edible fruits and berries are often scattered by feeding birds and animals.  Seeds are also transported on fur and clothing, in mud on the soles of shoes, and on the wheels of vehicles (p. 139).

Previous Building of the Day posts:
Building of the Day: Xocolatti
Building of the Day: NYU Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life
Building of the Day: 40 Bond


Les said…
Is the garden on top?
local ecologist said…
Les, the garden is on top; a lovely surprise when you emerge out of the cottage. Also, an incredible view of the Hudson from the garden.