SS United States

The proposed redesign of the SS United States turns the "Big U" into a floating hotel and event space adjacent to Pier 57 in New York City.

Handel Architects created a concept for the adaptive reuse and redesign of the SS United States. Launched in 1952, at the height of America’s post war power, the SS United States super-liner remains the fastest passenger liner ever to cross the Atlantic in both directions. Built by renowned naval architect William Francis Gibbs, the ship has been docked at Pier 82 on the Delaware River in Philadelphia since 1996.

The concept moves the ship next to Pier 57 in West Chelsea, New York City, where it can leverage both the uniqueness of the SS United States and the expansiveness of Pier 57 (which Handel Architects renovated). The redesigned space would include new hotel space coupled with an amazing new public space at the water’s edge. 

Plans include connecting the retail spaces at the Pier with a new public plaza that connects directly to the ship’s deck at the water level. The deck would serve as the “street floor” lobby for the hotel with direct access from the newly created public space. Above, the ship's decks combine a number of distinct but interrelated program elements: 800+ micro-luxury hotel rooms, a beach and winter club, museum, restaurants and night clubs in order to create a density that fosters social interaction and acts as a catalyst, drawing the public into and around the site and connecting the area into the larger context. 


Conceptual Design