Robert Hammond, founder and executive director of the nonprofit Friends of the High Line (FHL), the organization that funds and maintains the High Line in Manhattan, recently expressed doubts about whether the park has fulfilled its original purpose. “We were from the community. We wanted to do it for the neighborhood,” said Hammond in an interview with City Lab. “Ultimately, we failed.” The article points to issues of equity and inclusivity in public space as the cause for concern. The success of the High Line has far outpaced the FHL's original estimates of 300,000 visitors a year; the linear park attracted 7.6 million visitors in 2015 alone. However, in an FHL report of the same year, the data shows that only 458,000 were from the “High Line area” and on average 45% of the visitors were nonwhite. While the report notes these numbers are much better than previous years, the question of whether the High Line has produced equitable urban space is still up for debate. Increases in real estate values due to development in the neighborhoods that touch the High Line are estimated to generate almost $1 billion dollars in tax revenues over the next 20 years. Further investigation is needed to see how those funds will directly benefit lower income residents in the area. Hammond penned a note on the FHL website saying his previous statement was truncated and “inadvertently gives the impression that I think the High Line has not been a success. That couldn't be farther from the truth or what I believe personally.” The organization has in recent years sought to broaden its coalition and recalibrate its efforts to address the issues of access to high-quality parks for diverse stakeholders. This has manifested into the creation of more public programming and the High Line Network, a coalition of designers invested in developing parks projects in other cities across the U.S. and Canada. The Network has met several times since its inception and has focused on projects like the L.A. River rehabilitation and Atlanta’s rail-to-trails Beltline.
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New York architect Elizabeth Diller, a founding partner at Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is working on an opera (yes, an opera) for the High Line. The show is expected to take place in 2019 and has been appropriately coined the Mile Long Opera. Diller will be working with composer David Lang and sound designer Brude Odland for the project. Diller has been playing with the concept for some years now. According to The Real Deal, Diller said the idea took inspiration from a woman who used to put on her own self-starring cabarets on her fire escapes. Known as the Renegade Cabaret, the shows were a reaction to people who were supposedly encroaching on the privacy of a condo on West 20th Street that looked on to a park. No other information is currently known about the Mile Long Opera. Diller, though, has worked with Lang in the past. DS+R and Lang produced Musings on a Glass Box which was held at Jean Nouvel's Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain in Paris in 2014. That same year, in an interview with Surface Magazine, Diller gave a hint that an opera was in the works. "We’re working on a large-scale opera, which is really a new kind of urban project," she said. "We’re really trying to get at the gesamtkunstwerk—the total project." Diller doesn't just have musical aspirations either. Speaking to Architect Magazine also in 2014, she discussed her work with Spike Jonze for the film Her. "In college I’d had a fantasy of being a filmmaker. I’d taken film courses at Cooper Union and then somehow detoured into architecture," she said. "But the film bug never really left. If I could leave my life for five years, I would love to construct a film from scratch.
The Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square, a high-profile venue for a changing program of temporary commissioned artworks, has inspired a similar landmark destination in New York: the High Line Plinth. New York’s plinth will be a visible stage for sculpture located on the High Line's new "Spur" section at West 30th and 10th Avenue; the plinth and the Spur are scheduled to open together. High Line Art (which describes itself as "Presented by Friends of the High Line," the non-profit group that funds and maintains the famous rails-to-trails park) has said construction is expected to begin in 2017, with the opening coming sometime in 2018. According to The New York Times, the plinth will likely change shapes and sizes depending upon the artwork showcased. "High Line Art continues to reach a broad, diverse audience—including more than 2.3 million New Yorkers annually—with free, world-class artwork 365 days a year," said Robert Hammond, cofounder and executive director of Friends of the High Line, in a statement. To determine what artworks should inaugurate the plinth, 12 international artists have been shortlisted by Hight Line Art and an international advisory committee. Models of the artists' proposed sculptures will be displayed from February 9 to April 30, 2017, on the High Line at West 14th Street. Of the twelve, two will be the first High Plinth commissions. The first artwork will be installed in 2018, and each piece will be available for viewing for 18 months. The artists include Jonathan Berger, Minerva Cuevas, Jeremy Deller, Sam Durant, Charles Gaines, Lena Henke, Matthew Day Jackson, Simone Leigh, Roman Ondak, Paola Pivi, Haim Steinbach, and Cosima von Bonin. See the gallery above to sample some of their proposals. The Friends of the High Line also reported that the Spur will provide storage space for park operations, maintenance, horticulture, and new public restrooms for the park. "The High Line Plinth will expand the program's impact by creating a one-of-a-kind destination for public art on the Spur, a new section of the park with even more space for public programming and dynamic horticulture,” Hammond said.
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New renderings and details on Bjarke Ingels Group’s (BIG) multiuse development under construction on 76 11th Avenue along New York City’s High Line park were released yesterday. The project, dubbed “The Eleventh” will contain a five-star 137 key Six Senses hotel and spa (the company’s first in U.S. location) in the East Tower and approximately 240 luxury apartments split between the two towers, as well as retail space and a public promenade accompanying the adjacent High Line. “When we acquired the last major downtown development site in 2015 we had a blank slate to create a new neighborhood on one of the world’s most valuable and desired pieces of land,” said HFZ Capital Group chairman and founder Ziel Feldman in a press release. The Eleventh will consist of two towers that, at an estimated 300- and 400-feet tall, will be the tallest buildings in the West Chelsea neighborhood (the West tower will be the taller of the two), ensuring panoramic views of downtown and midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River. In addition to the 240 condominiums and hotel, taking up roughly 950,000 square feet, 90,000 square feet will be devoted to retail. The two, twisting towers topped with glass “crowns” have a distinct BIG geometric sleekness about them that is, if not reminiscent of, then certainly complementary to the firm’s VIA 57 West and “The Spiral,” both just north along the Hudson River. According to the press release, the buildings are inspired by “New York City's classic modernist structures and cultural institutions … The punched window openings, meanwhile, are an important nod to the past, a reference to the historic industrial buildings of the neighborhood and nearby Meatpacking District.” The Eleventh joins a slew of starchitecture along the High Line, including Zaha Hadid’s West 28th Street, Neil Denari’s HL23, DS+R’s “The Shed,” and Renzo Piano’s Whitney Museum. The Eleventh is slated to open 2019.
When New York City's massive, visible-from-space Fresh Kills landfill closed in 2001, the city began trucking its garbage—around 14 million tons annually—to other states. Former Mayor Bloomberg tried to soften this unsustainable solution with a 2006 plan to transport waste by train and barge instead of trucks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 192,000 tons per year. Now, with Mayor de Blasio's ambitious "zero waste" plan for landfills by 2030, the need for revamped waste management systems is pressing. Could old-school pneumatic tubes help the City meet its goal? Pneumatic tubes seem like a futuristic waste disposal technology, but they are widely employed in Europe and parts of the U.S., including New York's Roosevelt Island and Disney World. Indeed, some parts of New York used to get mail delivered by pneumatic tubes. How could this system work on a large scale today? ClosedLoops, an infrastructure planning and development firm, has been researching this question for five years. The team hopes to create a pneumatic tube system, the High Line Corridor Network, underneath the High Line park on Manhattan's Far West Side. Now in the pre-development phase, the team chose the High Line to test their prototype because its height eliminates the need to tunnel beneath the streets. Waste would be sucked from the park and nearby buildings and deposited in a central terminal for overland carting to landfills outside of New York. As of December 2015, NYS Energy Research and Development Authority and NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) are on board, and the DSNY (plus the NYC DOT) have offered to support the grant proposal for the project. If trash tubes were installed citywide, it would be possible to track who produces the most (and least) waste, and mete out fee-for-service accordingly. The project will take a few more years to come fully to fruition. In the meantime, there are plenty of places to see pneumatic tubes in action, including your local drive-thru: https://www.flickr.com/photos/benfrantzdale/5022238452
In a new Manhattan skyscraper, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) reinterprets the tower-in-the-park by bringing the park up into the tower. https://vimeo.com/154626810 Today, the New York–based firm unveiled The Spiral, a 65-story skyscraper at Hudson Yards. The tower, programmed for offices and 27,000 square feet of retail, is located along the High Line, with a front entrance facing under-construction Hudson Park and Hudson Boulevard East. For those tracking the recent explosion of supertalls, The Spiral, at 1,005 feet, is eye-level with 1,004-foot One57. The prevailing visual element is a stepped group of terraces and hanging gardens, connected to double height atria, that wrap around the side of the building. For tenants renting out multiple floors, the atria can be programmed to connect to other floors, a tweak that could reduce reliance on elevators. Storytelling plays a strong role BIG's practice. The firm has a knack for delivering chronicles that distill the complexity of urban space and the ambiguities of history into a straightforward narrative that situates a project in time and place just so. “The Spiral will punctuate the northern end of the High Line, and the linear park will appear to carry through into the tower, forming an ascending ribbon of lively green spaces, extending the High Line to the skyline," asserted BIG founding principal Bjarke Ingels, in a statement. "The Spiral combines the classic Ziggurat silhouette of the premodern skyscraper with the slender proportions and efficient layouts of the modern high-rise. Designed for the people that occupy it, The Spiral ensures that every floor of the tower opens up to the outdoors creating hanging gardens and cascading atria that connect the open floor plates from the ground floor to the summit into a single uninterrupted work space. The string of terraces wrapping around the building expand the daily life of the tenants to the outside air and light.” In a video accompanying today's announcement, Ingels nails down the appeal of the swirl with pretty motifs from science and nature: "The spiral's immaculate geometry, and its suggestion of the infinite, that has mesmerized us in all cultures, and across time and place." The Spiral, he posits, will be "a new tower that stands out among its neighbors, yet feels completely at home." As buildings should? With BIG's unveil, Phase 1 development is continuing apace at Hudson Yards. When complete, the new neighborhood will allow for 26 million square feet of office space, 20,000 units of new housing, three million square feet for hotels, and two million square feet of retail. Hudson Yards first skyscraper, KPF's 10 Hudson Yards, topped out last October, with construction on 15, 30, 35, 50, and 55 Hudson Yards well underway.
2015 was a big year for for the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), but 2016 may be even BIG-ger. New renderings were revealed this week for 76 Eleventh Avenue, Bjarke Ingels' towers on the High Line in New York City. These new views are quite a lot different than images of the diamond-shaped towers that surfaced last November. At 28 and 38 stories, the towers are the same heights as before. It seems the developers, HFZ Capital, haven't finalized the program. The base will still include 85,000 square feet of retail, but office space may replace the hotel portion included in the project when it was first reported. Whatever arrangement HFZ decides on, it needs to be lucrative enough to recoup the (astonishing) $870 million that the site was purchased for in April 2014. Nevertheless, EB-5 materials received by real estate blog YIMBY indicate that the base will hold 85,000 square feet of retail space, 130 hotel rooms, 100 parking spaces, and 260 apartments on the upper floors. These are not the architect's only twisted towers. Construction on the Grove at Grand Bay, in Coconut Grove, Florida, is well underway. The two, 20-story towers swoop into scoliotic, 38-degree curves to optimize ocean views. Ingels posted a photo of the development's outdoor canopy on Instagram yesterday, pictured below. 2016 will be the year to see how the firm's bumper crop of projects from the past five years come to fruition. AN is on the lookout for updates to the Pittsburgh master plan, the East Side Coastal Resiliency Project, the "courtscraper," the Redskins' new stadium (maybe), and Two World Trade Center, among other projects.
Meet The Green Line: How Perkins Eastman would remake Broadway through Manhattan into a 40-block linear park
By now, the "Bilbao Effect" is metonymy for a culture-led revitalization of a postindustrial city driven by a single institution housed in a starchitect-designed complex. The wild success of Manhattan's High Line generates regional seismic effects—the Lowline, the QueensWay, and the Lowline: Bronx Edition all cite the high queen of linear parks as their inspiration. Upping the ante, Perkins Eastman unfurls the Green Line, a plan to convert one of New York's busiest streets into a park. The Green Line would overtake Broadway for 40 blocks, from Columbus Circle to Union Square, connecting Columbus Circle, Times Square, Herald Square, Madison Square, and Union Square with pedestrian and cyclists' paths. Except for emergency vehicles, automobiles would be banned from the Green Line. The proposal has precedent in Bloomberg-era "rightsizing" of Broadway. Traffic calming measures closed Times Square to cars, increased the number of pedestrian-only spaces, and installed bike lanes along Broadway, reducing vehicular traffic overall. In conversation with Dezeen, Perkins Eastman principal Jonathan Cohn noted that "green public space is at a premium in the city, and proximity to it is perhaps the best single indicator of value in real estate. [The] Green Line proposes a new green recreational space that is totally integrated with the form of the city." Value, moreover, isn't linked exclusively to price per square foot. Replacing two miles of asphalt with bioswales and permeable paving could help regulate stormwater flow for the city's overburdened stormwater management infrastructure. Right now, rain falling to the west of Broadway discharges, untreated, into the Hudson, while east of Broadway, stormwater gushes straight into the Hudson. What do you think: is the Green Line on Broadway feasible, or totally fantastical?
Clearly, higher ups at the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) are channeling beloved New York rapper Notorious B.I.G.'s approach to urban space. The firm's recent high-profile commissions (hello, Pittsburgh!) reflect Biggie's mantra: "the sky is the limit, and [you] know that you can have what you want, be what you want, have what you want, be what you want," ad infinitum. Now, Ingels is again looking skyward with a new project along New York's High Line. Today, YIMBY reported that BIG has released preliminary renderings for its project on the High Line, at Eleventh Avenue and 17th Street. The eastern tower will rise 28 floors (302 feet) adjacent to its 38 story (402 feet) western sibling. The buildings will feature 300 apartments (most with two and three bedrooms), retail space, and a hotel. Apartments will sit above a three-level, 150,000-square-foot hotel, and 50,00 square feet of ground floor retail. HFZ Capital paid an astonishing $870 million for the site last summer. The tower's aggressive diagonal cut will allow views of the High Line from the southern side of the western tower. The project's expected completion date is 2018. Just keep pressin' on, BIG. Just as newsworthy, perhaps: Why has it taken BIG so long to land a High Line commission alongside fellow starchitects Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, Jean Nouvel, Norman Foster, and countless others?
Call it High Line fever: since the first leg of James Corner and Diller Scofidio + Renfro's High Line debuted in 2009, High Line–like projects have popped up all over the city and across the country. Now, not ten miles from the original, the Bronx may be slated for its very own rail-to-park conversion. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has asked Mayor Bill de Blasio to transform an unused slice of below grade train track in Mott Haven into a "lowline." The block-long site, bounded by Brook Avenue, East 156th Street, St. Ann's Avenue, and East 150th Street, is owned by CSX. In order to reclaim the space for parkland, the city would need to buy or seize the land from the railroad company. On a visit to the site in September, Mayor de Blasio deplored the condition of the trash strewn corridor, which doubles as a homeless encampment. Soon after the mayor's visit, city workers cleared out the belongings of the residents and removed debris from the site. Sandwiched between schools and their athletic fields, the lowline would be adjacent to mixed income housing projects Melrose Commons and Via Verde.
As starchitect-designed condos pop-up along the High Line, Chelsea’s art galleries look for a new home
As rents go up in a city succumbing to gentrification, the few remaining art galleries in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood have either left or are looking set to leave. This however, is nothing new for the art galleries of New York, according to Stuart Siegel, senior vice president at real-estate broker CBRE Group who specializes in Chelsea. The galleries have been been victims of their own success before. "The galleries put Chelsea on the map. Then the world followed them," Siegel told Crain's. Now, high-end development along the High Line is responsible for chasing many galleries away. Crain's went on to note that only "high-end emporiums" such as Gagosian Gallery, Gladstone Gallery, and David Zwirner—all of which own their own buildings—remain. They have learned the lessons of the past when art galleries previously "revitalized" Soho, only to be forced out due to increasing rent prices. The hike has even affected Jeff Koons, the world’s most expensive living artist at auction according to Crain's. Koons plans to move out within the next two years. Developments from Zaha Hadid, Foster+Partners, Frank Gehry, and others have popped up all along the High Line, and will only further the gentrification of the area as rent prices continue to increase. Troy McMullen at the Financial Times commented that "at present there are more than 20 new developments – with more than 2,700 new units – planned either near, alongside or under the High Line, according to New York City’s Department of Buildings, making this narrow, 2.3km-long strip of land one of the highest concentrations of new architecture and property development in the US."
Should you be strolling along the High Line during the next couple weeks, you may encounter a temporary construction shed at the site of Zaha Hadid's condominium project going up at 520 West 28th Street. No typical plywood-and-pipe-scaffolding this, however. A quasi-tunnel of translucent fabric stretches more than 100 feet along the elevated park. And it even has a name. As reported by Curbed NY, the shelter is has been
dubbed christened Allongé. (We'll save you the trouble of finding your Larousse; that word translates as "lengthened.") Reassuringly, this Zaha-designed enclosure is sheltered by a code-compliant structure that will protect passers-by from any real falling debris.