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New York's High Line Reveals First Look at Its New Plans


Images Courtesy Friends of the High Line

The first phase of design has been unveiled for Manhattan’s High Line, the 1.5-mile elevated railway destined to become New York’s 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 York’s Museum of Modern Art until July 18.

Phase I, which centers on the park’s 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 isn’t 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.

Ilan Kayatsky

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