Biking Dutchman Hijacks Governors Island Planning Meeting

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A rendering of Geuze's island. Photo: Image: Park-CenteroftheWorld.org


Walking into a presentation by the five finalists vying to design a new Governors Island park last night, everyone thought there were two front-runners: James Corner, who has proposed a "superthick" promenade abutting a dense lawn and a "fog forest" with misters to lead you to soccer fields, and Joshua Prince-Ramus, whose plan calls for a patchwork of parcels around the edge that can adapt to private development. But then Adriaan Geuze, another of the finalists, rode into the Chelsea auditorium on a wood-frame bicycle, and he stole the show. Geuze is a Rotterdam architect with corkscrew hair and, last night, a floral-print shirt, and he got the crowd laughing when his PowerPoint presentation showed a butterfly landing on the island and then spreading into a "poetic pattern" of zany footpaths.

Geuze doesn't subscribe to the conventional wisdom that parkland on this flat, 172-acre harbor gem should lure private developers; instead, his team proposes demolishing the existing buildings on the island and landscaping their rubble as mountains and ravines. Some 3,000 wood-frame bikes would be available for free, for exploring a "botanical forest" and traversing the edge of the island. "The island should be as green as broccoli," he proclaimed, to amens and giggles. The jury may be less amused — there were good reasons Corner and Prince-Ramus were front-runners — but Geuze seems, despite that hair, unruffled. "America is about entertainment, about show," he told us later. "I was a little surprised that everybody else seemed so serious." —Alec Appelbaum