Construction is proceeding apace on the new Pier 17 at the South Street Seaport, and once it’s completed next year, it will feature a futuristic addition to the public space located on the building’s rooftop. As reported by The Architects Newspaper, the amenity consists of a canopy made of strands of robotically woven glass and carbon fibers. Though it looks a bit like a game of Cat’s Cradle on Ecstasy, the structure, designed by German architect Achim Menges, is actually inspired by beetle wings—or more specifically the “the fibrous structures of the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra.” Menges, in fact, created something like it last year for the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
Pier 17 itself is the brainchild of SHoP Architects, the go-to designers for big city projects like Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. Their original plan was for a lawn on the roof covered by a giant glass pergola. That plan was nixed by the Landmarks Preservation Committee (LPC) thanks partly to complaints that it would block views of the Brooklyn Bridge. On the other hand, if Menges's beetle-like design flies, it will be easily visible from the Bridge, especially when it lights up at night.