Irish Hunger Memorial Renovation
New York City
Award of Merit
Owner: The Battery Park City Authority
Lead Design Firm: CTA Architects
Construction Manager: The LiRo Group
General Contractor: Nicholson & Galloway Inc.
Structural Engineer: GACE Consulting Engineers
MEP Engineer: Collado Engineering P.C.
Landscape Consultant: SiteWorks
The Irish Hunger Memorial, commemorating the Irish famine and migration of 1845-1852, was designed by sculptor and artist Brian Tolle and originally opened in 2002. But it had succumbed to water infiltration and subsequent damage to its base.
The $5.3-million renovation and waterproofing project restored the monument and also rendered it significantly less susceptible to future damage from weather. The team removed landscaping surrounding fieldstone masonry walls and parts of a famine-era stone cottage, which was brought from Ireland; reconfigured and reinforced the concealed core walls and substrates; installed a waterproofing membrane; and then assembled the monument’s elements back together.
The main challenge was in making the recreated Irish meadow function as a live elevated field with naturally growing plants and its own living ecosystem despite the planted area being on top of a waterproofed concrete slab. The planted area is 7,200 sq ft.
Judges called this a unique project in which the integrity of the artistic landscape design needed to be preserved while protection measures were installed. They found that the care taken to do so showed extreme sensitivity and expertise.