West 8th Street-New York Aquarium
Vito Acconci (Acconci Studio)
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 façade 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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