The Governors Island Welcome Center is a seasonal visitor services and wayfinding hub for the island, and is a project in constructing alternative ways of seeing and being positioned within the context of the city. The structure primarily hosts local visitors from New York metropolitan area; thus the Welcome Center is situated such that visitors gain a uniquely removed and unfamiliar perspective of the familiar New York Harbor as the first event they encounter after disembarking from the ferry.
The structure rests on a large wooden platform that provides ample shade to visitors while offering the potential of hosting small events beyond the core visitors and retail program. Inspired by the deep apertures of Castle Williams—a neighboring historic fortification on the island—the proposal seeks to direct views of the island and its surroundings, becoming a device for framing exterior views as well as the events within. While the historic fortification is characterized by a thick perimeter wall surrounding an interior courtyard, the Welcome Center reverses this diagram with a programmatic and structural central core, allowing for a fluid and open perimeter. Louvers of varying angles create a dynamism of structural elements that animates the experience of moving through. The Welcome Center is one out of a family of structures proposed by Office III on Governors Island.