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West 8th Street-New York Aquarium

Vito Acconci (Acconci Studio)

Wavewall, 2005

Steel, ceramic tile, granite, fiberglass

The inspiration for the station's design was local sites - the historic Coney Island boardwalk and Cyclone roller coaster, the aquarium next to the station, and area beaches. The station is on the approximate site of a former roller coaster ride. The architect, Jim McConnell of Daniel Frankfurt, wanted to transform the exterior station walls in a unique way. Working with the architects, artist Vito Acconci developed an architectural treatment for the station fa├žade that is full of life. As in successful collaborations, there is no clear delineation between the architecture and the art.

Before rehabilitation, the windscreens blocked ocean views; the new windscreens open up the platform view of the Atlantic Ocean. In the artist's words, "The normally horizontal and vertical steel windscreen tubes and panels have been transformed into a more sinuous form that evokes the notion of a wave, or that of motion as in the Cyclone or the subway itself." The result is a striking and unique subway station that fits into its special surroundings.

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