April 22, 2005
Images Courtesy Friends of
the High Line
The first phase of design has been unveiled
for Manhattans High Line, the 1.5-mile elevated railway
destined to become New Yorks most unique public space.
Hashed out over the last six months by Field Operations and
Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the designs were made public on
April 20, and are on display at New Yorks Museum of
Modern Art until July 18.
Phase I, which centers on the parks
southernmost stretch from Gansevoort to 15th Street
aims to lay down a framework for the entire project:
Agri-tecture, the blending of organic and man-made
materials enjoining a varied system of planked pathways with
a diverse array of plant life.
People will continuously meander
through the landscape, explains Field Operations
James Corner. It allows us to create niches and little
hideaways. The planks, made of pre-cast concrete, will
have gaps between them where they intersect with green areas,
allowing spaces for flora to grow. This will create, says
Corner, a blending between the hard and soft materials
a landscape that isnt a simple division between
path and garden.
The concrete paths, eight to fifteen
feet wide, will be laid out in a winding flow with numerous
splintering tributaries. The plant species chosen to grow
there should be able to maintain their shape in all
seasons, observes FHL planning director Peter Mullan,
in order to survive and make a continuous visual impression.
Another important feature, says FHL co-director
Joshua David, will be the varied points of access onto the
High Line. Several entrances will stem from busy intersections,
while slow stairs will psychologically divide
the street from the structure, Mullan adds. The FHL
hopes to begin repairs and remediation of the structure by
the fall of this year, with Phases I and II of construction
to follow in mid-2006.