Title: Yardsmania, Manhattan’s Last Frontier - Code: G6X4M1
Contest: NY / 2012
By: G. Scerri

Views: 5142 Likes: 1




Yardsmania, Manhattan’s Last Frontier

 Built with a rational framework basis, New York has been developed out of proportions and with craziness. Manhattanism and its thirst for congestion developed an ambitious network formed by 2028 blocks and gave to the city its high activities density and its verticality, which are two important urban components where myth meets reality. Nowadays, the city is still constantly mutating, and while Ground Zero’s memory is ready to be honoured, NYC has to think about its vision for an ambitious future. Where is the potential for such a development? What could be its function and form?

The underdeveloped Manhattan’s West Midtown has got the location, the connexions and the space to be the new starting point of New York City’s Future Developpement. In the middle of the area, the Hudson Yards will play the main act of the story. The story started decades ago, with many proposals, successively aborted. In 2004: Manhattan’s Stadium for NYC 2012 Olympics Games, and after that a re-zonning and a proposal of a new business and residential district which is still under discussion. All these projects fed hopes and gave rise to fierce discussions and kept this site under tension. The “Hudson Yards” became a very appealing frontier; but anyway, nothing happened, neither change, nor “happy end” so far. This complex site, with so many stakes, so many speculations, is puzzled quite a lot. What’s going to happen there? I tried to write a final fictional act of the struggle and propose my NYC vision.

The Hudson Railroad Yards is necessary to regulate the important Penn Station’s traffic and has to be preserved. But the main problem is that it doesn’t use the underground possibilities of the area. It reminds us a problem enlighted by Rem Koolhaas in Delirious New York. He used the example of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel and says :

“The real problem of the Waldorf-Astoria is that it is not a Skyscraper. The more the hotel’s Success enhances the value of the block, the more urgent it becomes to realize a definitive structure …” Delirious New York, R. Koolhaas

In the case of the Hudson Yards, the successful refurbishement of the High Line, the arrival of the metro 7 on site and the green development of the riverside have increased the value of this « mega bloc » which is linked to these elements. All these facts made me think about a reorganisation of the train terminal in order to achieve such a « definitive structure ». My proposal consists in condensing the railroads underground on 3 levels. Once the space is free, I suggest a reorganization of the infrastructure network (underground rail yard, motorway tunnel, Penn Railway Station annex, …) together with the construction of a stadium and new developments all around, (a park, shopping centres, residential towers and a riverside terminal). The artificial park stands under the Manhattan grid in order to go over it, a little bit like the High Line Elevated Park does, crossing above Chelsea streets. Setting up part of this program under the street level including the stadium is an urban experiment, which aim to create a “positive congestion” all around this area.


Reincarnation of Harlem Pologround : There is no big stadium in Manhattan since Harlem Pologround was broken down in 1964 and replaced by blocks housing. The design of the stadium, reminds the old Pologround. Indeed, Coogan’s Bluff Hill was offering a view on the Pologround field from the outside, which was a well-known aspect of the stadium. What I suggest is a stadium right below the street level ; built this way will recreate such an atmosphere which will be spread quite like an opening onto the city.

Preservation of the High Line : The project is integrated in the third section of the High Line, nested in its curves. Then it’s protected and highlighted by the stadium and offers amazing views on the field.

Reinterpretation of train tracks into park stripes : The reorganization of the site through the artificial park that I propose remind the previous rail yard so that its frame and its memory last despite the rail yard is evolving to its “final form”. The guidelines of the rail yard are still the same, together with its principle: a common starting point and then divergences, which allow dispatching. Again about the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Koolhaas was saying:

“The layers of its past occupancies still exist on the block as an invisible archaeology, no less real for being disembodied” Delirious New York, R. Koolhaas

The design of the park is based on this principle of “invisible archaeology” hidden in the future. The park stands right above the transport network. It creates a very large green open space between Midtown Manhattan Centre and Hudson Riverside. Its landscaped strips allows to bear large flows raised by the railway station, the stadium and the river side terminal. In addition, this park allows connections between all the green spaces: up to the high line and along to the Hudson River side. My hypothesis has a structuring and organisational purpose answering to existing concerns of New York City. It is also a metaphorical and fantasmatical thought, referring to the way New York has been developed following Coney Island example.



Title: Yardsmania, Manhattan’s Last Frontier

Time: 13 giugno 2012
Category: NY
Views: 5142 Likes: 1

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