From Boston to San Francisco and cities in between, increasing the quality of livable and usable urban space has become a hot issue. Waterfront redevelopment, highway removal, and linear park creation (and activation) are leading the way. For Seattle, that means redoing the waterfront by replacing the deteriorating seawall, removing the earthquake damaged Alaskan Way Viaduct, and building a tunnel. When these projects are complete, it also means carrying out James Corner's massive over $1 billion waterfront plan with proposed features like a public promenade, lookouts, a dedicated bike path, and more, that would wind along the western edge of the city from Belltown and south to Pioneer Square. Other related projects also include a Pike Place Market addition, an aquarium expansion, and Pike-Pine improvements, among others. But a new kid on the block is trying to shake things up. Enter Initiative-123. Seattle-based Kate Martin (who ran for mayor in 2013) is leading a competing vision to the James Corner plan. The opposing proposal calls for a mile-long, six-acre elevated High Line style park. The idea is to reinforce and convert a southern portion of the viaduct into a promenade and then extend it, rebuilding an entirely new portion as a dedicated haven to walkers and cyclists. "Elevated parks are at the forefront of urban open spaces and delays in the unimproved plan have created an opportunity for a re-imagining of Seattle’s waterfront," reads the I-123 policy. "The city’s unimproved waterfront plan attempts to mix commercial, transportation, and pedestrian space into an end product that doesn’t meet any of these users’ needs." The proposal is gaining traction, recently getting enough signatures (over 20,638) to go before the city council on August 17. With the council expected to reject it, I-123 would then get put on the ballot, and possibly be up for a citizen vote next summer. And should the ballot measure pass, it would establish a public development authority. If this happens, "it is going to create serious problems, with the millions of dollars that have already been spent,” City Council member Sally Bagshaw told the Seattle Times last week. For now, we wait.
Posts tagged with "High Line":
In the insane race to build more and more luxury condos in New York City, the High Line is staking its claim as the scrappy younger sibling of Billionaire’s Row on 57th Street. The latest addition will be an 8-unit, 47,000 square-foot building by “the leather daddy of luxury,” Peter Marino. The new building will be developed by Victor Homes and Michael Shvo. It will be located at 239 Tenth Avenue, at 24th Street, right near the High Line. At first glance, we were nervous that this new structure would abut one of the best buildings on the ‘Line, Neil Denari’s HL23. However, the building in the rendering's background faked us out—it's actually a very similar building to HL23 at 245 10th Avenue, which straddles the corner lot that Marino’s boxy structure will occupy. What makes this building odd is that it is not a typical Marino design. Usually, “the leather daddy of luxury” dispenses over-the-top, opulent designs that are perverse in their subversion and skirting of the logic of efficient detailing. The initial rendering of 239 Tenth shows little in common with Marino's flashy and very luxurious interiors and retail spaces. Instead, the facade appears as a flat black grid with uneven yet predictable fenestrations. We'll be waiting to see the details.
It was always a question of when—not if—Rem Koolhaas would join the starchitect party alongside New York City's High Line. With the third phase of the popular park open, and multiple splashy projects rising alongside it, the New York Post is reporting that Koolhaas' time has come: he has been hired by The Related Companies to design a building on West 18th Street. Related is also developing a nearby building by Koolhaas' former student and then partner, Zaha Hadid. While there are very few details about Koolhaas' new building, it will certainly be significant given that it is the world-renowned architect's first major project in New York City—a city which he, of course, explored in depth over 30 years ago in Delirious New York. Rem's High Line tower won't be the only project his firm, OMA, will be working on in the New York City region. Last year, Koolhaas' team was selected as one of the major winners of HUD's Rebuild by Design competition.
Last week, AN took a walk along the High Line to check in on all the new development happening right alongside New York City's popular park. One of the structures we saw steadily rising was 860 Washington Street, a 10-story glass office building by James Carpenter Design Associates. The project has been in the works since 2009 but is slated to finally welcome commercial tenants this October. With the upcoming opening, the developer has released new renderings of the project on a glossy website and a video of James Carpenter explaining his very glassy design. According to the building's website, 860 Washington is where "glass meets green."
When the final phase of the High Line opened in September, Mayor de Blasio was not there to celebrate—neither was his Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver, reported the New York Times. The mayor was off to Pittsburgh that day and Silver apparently had a scheduling conflict so deputies for both men were sent instead. But if the mayor would have made it to the opening, it would have been his first time on the High Line. Ever. "I am a fan of it,” the mayor reportedly said when asked about his absence at the park. “I think it’s done a lot of good for the city, but I haven’t visited.” This is surprising for two reasons. First, the obvious: he’s the mayor of New York and the High Line is one of the city’s most celebrated and beloved destinations. It's even featured in his administration’s promotional video for the city's bid to host the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Barclays Center. And, second, if you’ve visited the High Line recently, you know the place is packed—it seems that every single human being on planet earth is up there alongside you. Last year, nearly five million people strolled across the old rail line. So why wasn't the mayor among the millions? It partly comes down to politics. As the Times explained: “[The High Line] is also associated with the themes Mr. de Blasio railed against in his campaign for mayor, when he denounced the 'almost colonial dynamic' between a gentrifying Manhattan and the city’s other boroughs. The park has attracted a string of luxury buildings to the Far West Side and is a cherished cause of wealthy Manhattanites in Mr. Bloomberg’s circles." [h/t Curbed.]
Singaporean architect Soo K. Chan of SCDA Architects is the latest to join an internationally renowned group of architects building along New York's High Line in Chelsea. Chan isn't settling for just one building, however. Two new buildings are set to rise just blocks from towers by Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, and feature differing aesthetics that tap into the luxury market that has skyrocketed in the area. The first of the two, 515 High Line at 515 West 29th Street, will stand 11 stories tall. The tower is defined on two sides by rippling glass fins from its podium to its top. The tower is predominantly clad in glass, but renderings show a blank segment of the building facing the High Line that could be covered with murals, adding to the already robust arts offerings along the linear park. "Soo Chan's stunning loft-style interiors evoke an understated appeal and modernity, and the exterior facade, with steel and glass that appears to curve—as inspired by the High Line's bend at 29th Street—will incorporate the High Line both for onlookers and residents in a way that no other property will," Joseph Beninati, of Bauhouse Group, the project's developer, said in a statement. According to the Bauhouse Group, the homes in the $125 million development will range from 2,100–4,400 square feet and will be priced between $5 million and $25 million. There are also three penthouses that have 22-foot-tall ceilings. The property is expected to open in 2015 and is directly across the High Line from Chan’s other condo project—the Soori High Line at 522 West 29th Street. That structure is also 11 stories, but has a more restrained facade that is defined more by modern straight lines than a wavy skin. The units inside the property, though, are anything but restrained—16 of Soori’s 27 units have private, heated pools featuring glass walls on the street facade. This is obviously only the latest set of flashy buildings set to rise on the High Line. Last week, Crain’s reported that piece of a parking lot next to the High Line could be next to get the condo treatment. “That portion can accommodate a 390-foot-tall residential tower about 440,000 square feet in size, making it one of the largest development sites in that area up for grabs in recent years,” Crain’s reported. The piece of land could sell for over $400 million.
Studio Gang’s first New York City tower appears to be moving forward, albeit a little shorter than originally envisioned. Initial plans called for a 213-foot tall, 180,000-square-foot office tower—known as the “Solar Carve”—that would have been 34 percent larger than what is currently allowed on the site. After it became clear that wasn't going to fly with the NYC Board of Standards and Appeals (BSA), the Carve's developer, William Gottlieb Real Estate, withdrew its application leaving the fate of the project in jeopardy. But fear not Jeanne Gang fans, there's good news. Today, the BSA voted in favor of the developer’s revised application (its fourth), which does not request any additional bulk at the site. The Board also approved the developer's request for “a relatively minor height and setback waiver." “We were excited to receive the Zoning and Setback Waiver from the BSA,” said Jeanne Gang, in a statement to AN. “This important decision will preserve the design and enhance the experience along the High Line for residents of New York and the greater community of visitors to the site. The Solar Carve Tower project is ongoing with an anticipated design completion in 2015.” That's certainly an ambitious deadline, but the Gang team can now watch from up close as the Chicago-based firmed recently opened an office in Manhattan.
Following it's opening in 2009, urban planners all over the world have been keen on acquiring their own versions of New York's much-lauded High Line. Sydney is the latest city to enter the fray, selecting a 500-meter stretch of abandoned railway as a foundation for the Goods Line, an urban park and public space, replete with bike paths, study pods and outdoor workspaces catering to local students. The construction is a two stage process. Work on the Northern phase will commence this month and connect the Powerhouse Museum to Frank Gehry's confusingly named and fairly unpleasant addition to the UTS campus, the Chau Chak Wing Building. The second portion will reshape an existing pedestrian walkway and is set to begin following the projected November 2014 completion date of Goods Line North. The project arrives with a promotional video, offering a sleek fly-through of the space as the requisite techno soundtrack pulsates gently in the background. The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority is leading the initiative, working to realize a design by ASPECT Studios and Choi Ropiha Fighera(CHROFI). A feasibility study regarding potential further extension is currently underway as the team mulls the possibility of continuing the Goods Line into other portions of Sydney's Cultural Ribbon.
Chicago’s Studio Gang Architects announced plans for their New York debut in late 2012. The proposed building, located near the High Line along 10th Avenue between 13th and 14th streets, features a serrated edge that maximizes daylight on the elevated park next door—Jeanne Gang called it “solar carving.” But the legal path to realizing that faceted glass facade had some unexpected kinks of its own. The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) was “thrilled to report” that the building’s developer withdrew their application for a zoning variance for the building. At 213 feet tall, the tower would have been 34 percent larger than current zoning allows. After a few appearances before the Board of Standards and Appeals, the project's land use attorney told the New York Observer that the zoning request had fallen flat. The developer, William Gottlieb Real Estate, is apparently moving forward with a modified application, but for now the project remains blocked. The High Line intersects the site, which is currently an empty meatpacking plant. Gang’s design placed the tower near the Hudson River, abutting the High Line. GVSHP contested the developer’s position that sandy soils and the High Line’s proximity constituted a “hardship” worthy of a zoning variance. The 186,700-square-foot office tower was planned to open in 2015. If a revised application seeks different setbacks, the “Solar Carve” tower might meet less resistance from neighborhood groups. “We have no objections to the proposed development setting back differently than the zoning requires, as this would have no negative impact upon the surrounding neighborhood,” wrote GVSHP’s executive director, Andrew Berman. “Increasing the bulk of the proposed development, however, would have such a negative impact.”
This week, Friends of the High Line revealed the design concept for the third and final section of the High Line with a tantalizing set of renderings from James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Beginning at the intersection of 10th Avenue and West 30th Street, the latest addition, known as the High Line at the Rail Yards, will wrap westward around Related Companies’ impending Hudson Yards mega-development before culminating on 34th Street between 11th and 12th Avenues. The highlight of Phase 3 is undoubtedly the large, tree-lined amphitheater that will float above the 10th Avenue and 30th Street. Dubbed the Spur, the lush, verdant bowl will offer an intimate, semi-enclosed seating area and public restrooms, while serving as a gateway to Hudson Yards and the High Line’s final stretch. The whole project, estimated to cost $76 million, is scheduled to open to the public in late 2014, though according to the Friends of the High Line, we may have to wait another year or two for the Spur. Located at the widest section of the elevated park, the Spur will provide an immersive woodland environment just a few blocks from the heart of Midtown. Encircled by wood-be forest of Snakebark maples, black tupelo trees, ferns, perennials and woodland grasses, the space will contain tiered seating amidst a lush, urban wilderness. Combing skyward views of Hudson Yard’s forthcoming skyscrapers with James Corner’s signature naturalism, the Spur will offer what is sure to be a truly unique park experience. Friends of the Highline have committed to raise $36 million, culled form private donations, for the final stage of the the park. Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group, as part of their Hudson Yards development, are on board to contribute $29.2 million to the project’s construction and continued maintenance, while the Bloomberg administration and City Council allocated $11 million in capital funding.
A new "class A" office building adjacent to the High Line, 510 West 22nd Street, is now in the planning stage and the developers have released a video of its designer, Rick Cook of COOKFOX Architects, describing the building. But is anyone worried that the High Line may become a dark walkway through forest of buildings? Not Cook, who bases his design on the public qualities of the old elevated rail line that transformed 10th Avenue from the "end of the world to the center of the universe." But has there been a bigger boon to real estate development in New York since Central Park?
Walking along the farthest block of West 34th Street, navigating past queues waiting for MegaBuses going to Boston, Philadelphia, and other cities, is a small white tent behind a chain-link fence. There begins another journey to a world that will exist only until next May. It is the High Line at the Rail Yards, the last stretch of the beloved park between West 30 and 34th streets, still raw before it joins the two completed sections running to Gansevoort Street. You are first greeted by a dense, green self-seeded landscape, including a tree ripe with green apples. As you gingerly step over battered wooden rail ties and metal tracks, the vista opens up to the portion called the Spur, which runs parallel to the Hudson River with only the West Side Highway in between. Ships pass by, helicopters land, the Javits Center, the Starrett Lehigh Building, and the new Hudson Yards construction site surround you—and then you encounter the first of seven sculptures by Carol Bove sited along the tracks. Entitled Caterpillar and organized by High Line Art curator and director Cecilia Alemani, one can’t help think of the segmented larvae camouflaged to resemble the plants on which they feed that inch along until they become butterflies (or, smoking a hookah in Alice in Wonderland.) The Swiss-born Bove grew up in Berkeley, CA and now lives in Red Hook where she is inspired by the industrial landscape and harvests urban detritus. She is known for connecting the natural and the man-made, organic and inanimate, the geometric and the biomorphic. The first sculpture called Prudence is a squiggled coil of polished white powder-coated steel, which has a sister, Celeste farther down the line. These smooth, sensual, gleaming forms highlight the rough industrial surroundings, and speak sympathetically to the row upon row of silver commuter train cars in the vast yard below and to the east. The next set of Bove’s sculptures, 14, Monel, and Cow Watched by Argus, are of rougher materials--I-beams and metal plates--which seem to grow out of the bones of the High Line itself and the construction-in-progress glimpsed all around. The beams’ geometric patterns of 14 and A Glyph frame the views, while Monel is an empty plinth seemingly waiting for work to be completed. (The pristine bronze slab was damaged by Hurricane Sandy’s floodwaters.) As one rounds the corner of 30th Street, Visible Things and Colors features a brass 3D grid perched on a shaped concrete pedestal. More intimate in scale, it is perched directly on wooden railroad ties, and sits comfortably with the defunct “ready-mades” seen all along this stretch of of the High Line from a disused switch-box to rusted metal ribbons. Alemani said, "Her work is so much about the power of display and pedestals … and here you can see she is using the landscape of the High Line, and the city around [it], as her own pedestal...and positioned the sculptures right on the vegetation." A parallel exhibition by Bove at MoMA called Equinox is on view now through January 12, 2014. It also has seven works, here on a single platform which overlooks the garden, with such titles as Silver Compass, Herma, and Disgusting Mattress. Seeing Bove’s vocabulary taken indoors--there are variations on the High Line sculptures, plus more delicate works--is a fascinating contrast to Caterpillar, and both capitalize on their contexts. The artworks in the museum’s sculpture garden look like miniatures. Visit MoMA and the Caterpillar before it becomes a butterfly next May. Caterpillar, High Line at the Rail Yards until May 2014. Public Walks Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays. Advance reservations required. The Equinox, Museum of Modern Art through January 12, 2014