designing the high line

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Patrick Hazari

At the corner of Gansevoort Street and Washington Street, the High Line's southern terminus marks one of the parks major access points and gathering spaces. This corner is also the future location of the Whitney Museum of American Art. A paved, street-level public plaza will act as a meeting and orientation point for visitors to learn more about the High Line and will also house a small concessions area. An opening cut into the structure of the High Line allows for a steel and aluminum stair, supported by a stainless-steel rod hanger system, to gently touch the plaza level. The stair invites visitors to ascend from the busy street below to the elevated landscape on the High Line. While on the stairs, visitors pass between existing six-foot high beams, giving one a better understanding of the High Line's robust structure.

A few weeks ago, the High Line's signature "slow stairs" were delivered and installed. See a few of the images below after the break:

Patrick Hazari

The planks have been installed, the soil has started to arrive on site and the plants and trees are on their way. But what you might not realize is how all of this has come about. Welcome to the first installation in a series of blog posts looking specifically at the design of the High Line. Each week until the opening of Section 1 later this year, we will highlight final designs for Sections 1 and 2 of the High Line. Along with diagrams and design renderings, construction drawings and images will give you behind the scenes look at what promises to be an amazing park.

Since the release of the competition finalists in July 2004 and the selection of Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro later that summer, everyone near and far has always been intrigued with the design. With its thought-provoking ideas and a funky idea called Agri-tecture, New Yorkers embraced it and called it our own. Let's revisit the winning competition entry that is now becoming a reality thanks to supporters and advocates like you.

Statement by the design team describing AGRI-TECTURE:
"By changing the rules of engagement between plant life and pedestrians, our strategy of AGRI-TECTURE combines organic and building materials into gradients of changing proportions that accommodate a variety of natural and programmatic conditions. Part agriculture / part architecture the system digitizes the High Line surface into discrete units of paving and planting that could be organized in any combination from 100% hard paving to 100% soft richly vegetated biotopes, or any gradation in between. The surface is built from individual pre-cast concrete planks with open joints to encourage emergent growth like wild grass through cracks in the sidewalk. The long, gradually tapering units are designed to comb into planting beds creating a "pathless" landscape' where the public can meander in unscripted ways."

More photos after the break

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