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Tensioned Membrane Canopy from Birdair, Inc. Tops Battery Park City Ferry Terminal

Tensioned Membrane Canopy from Birdair, Inc. Tops Battery Park City Ferry Terminal

PTFE Fiberglass Membrane Lends Distinctive Look, Functionality to NYC Floating Ferry Terminal and Sea Taxi Station

Published: August 27, 2009

The newly constructed Battery Park City ferry terminal features a distinctive, tensile roof canopy constructed and installed by Birdair, Inc., the leading specialty contractor of lightweight long-span roofing systems and tensile structures throughout the world. It opened to the public on March 18, 2009.

With 7,000 to 8,000 passengers traveling through the terminal daily, the new, permanent floating structure required a roofing material that was both durable and visually appealing. Approximately 24,440 square feet of PTFE SHEERFILL Architectural Membrane provided the perfect solution. PTFE SHEERFILL Architectural Membrane, manufactured by Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, is the first ENERGY STAR® qualified and Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) certified architectural fabric membrane. As an ENERGY STAR product, SHEERFILL can help lower air conditioning requirements in buildings, reducing peak cooling demand by 10-15 percent.

Aesthetically, the sweeping design of the fabric membrane is suggestive of canvas sails, while functionally the fabric provides cover in all weather conditions for the terminal’s patrons. To preserve views from the Battery Park City esplanade and to complement the fabric roof design, glass windscreens were incorporated wherever feasible.

“The Battery Park City ferry terminal’s sophisticated look is largely a result of its fabric membrane roof,” says Michele Roth, Birdair marketing manager. “Birdair’s ability to work with the project team from design through completion continues to result in aesthetic and functional tensioned membrane roofing solutions like this one.”

The new Battery Park City ferry terminal covers three-quarters of an acre and is situated on a floating barge. In addition to the new terminal and roof construction, updated amenities were added including gangway separations, restrooms, a concession kiosk and improved lighting. This new structure replaces a terminal constructed in 1989, which provided ferry service between Hoboken and Battery Park City. 

Designed to accommodate five ferryboats simultaneously, the terminal offers travelers ferry service to Jersey City, Weehawken, Hoboken and Liberty State Park in New Jersey, as well as offering water taxi service. It is the largest terminal of its kind in the US and was ranked the “Best Public Works Project for 2008” by New York Construction News.

In addition to Birdair serving as roofing sub-contractor, the project team consisted of Port Authority of New York & New Jersey, Newark, NJ, as architect; Severud Associates Consulting Engineers PC, New York, NY, as project engineer; and Preston & Burrows, Staten Island, NY, as general contractor. Port Authority of New York & New Jersey is the facility owner. The BillyBey Ferry Company operates and maintains the terminal. 

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About Birdair: Birdair, Inc. is the leading specialty contractor of custom tensile structures throughout the world. In addition to pre-construction services such as design assistance, budgeting, construction methodologies and project scheduling, Birdair provides design-build solutions in all aspects of project design, engineering, installation and maintenance. The company offers a selection of architectural fabric membranes, including PTFE fiberglass, ETFE film, PVC and Tensotherm™. Birdair, based in Buffalo, NY, is a member of the Taiyo Kogyo Group, with operations serving North and South America and other international locations. For more information about Birdair, like us on Facebook, call 1-800-622-2246 or visit www.birdair.com.