Last month, Metals in Construction magazine and the Steel Institute of New York gathered at TheTimesCenter in New York City to announce the winner and five finalists for their 2019 Design Challenge, titled “Create A New Urban Pathway.” The competition asked architects, planners, and engineers to design a pedestrian bridge that connects the forthcoming Moynihan Train Hall, situated across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station, with Chelsea’s Hudson Yards, the city’s largest private real estate development, the first phase of which opens this week. The pathway between the Moynihan Train Hall and Hudson Yards would serve as an anchor for the rising development of Manhattan’s Far West Side, which is expected to receive roughly 100,000 pedestrians traveling between the two destinations each day.
With midtown’s upcoming surge of foot traffic, the design challenge sought to think of ways to make pedestrian travel more safe, efficient, and appealing to city dwellers, particularly through the construction of floating promenades—elevated, landscaped walkways that not only reduce inner-city congestion, but also prove beneficial to the health and overall well-being of citizens.
Judges and participants of the competition looked for inspiration from the immensely popular High Line—the now iconic urban pathway that, in 2014, dramatically transformed from an abandoned railway into a picturesque walkway.
Metals in Construction magazine awarded a $15,000 grand prize to the winning team from New York–based DXA Studio. The team’s proposal, titled “The Midtown Viaduct,” was chosen from a group of 45 qualifying entries and was praised by the panel of four judges for its structural practicality and streamlined design, which would offer city dwellers a new and exciting urban experience.
The Midtown Viaduct is composed of interlaced steel plate work, drawing from the industrial components of the High Line and the steel of the original Penn Station, to create a winding and dynamic walkway that would connect the two destinations and give pedestrians a recreational space to stride.
“[The Midtown Viaduct] employs forward-thinking approaches to form, fabrication, assembly, and urban solutions that mitigate/synthesize the complex forces of contemporary cities,” wrote the team from DXA Studio.
While DXA studio’s pedestrian bridge will probably never materialize in real life, the proposal serves as an innovative approach to topics concerning the livability and walkability of cities.
Metals in Construction magazine will be holding another design competition next year, themed “Create A New Urban Identity,” which will challenge participants to reimagine the skin of an existing building in New York City. More details about the competition will be announced in September 2019.