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TerraGRAM: Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with D.I.R.T. Studio and Beyer Blinder Belle

Design Boards


Team Statement

In the 1960's, Archigram created a forum for sharing proposals that radically reinvented the established norms of architecture. TerraGRAM is committed to a like-minded goal for parks. The central tenet that TerraGRAM takes from Archigram is the primacy of time and process in the service of program and invention. Time and process define landscape as a medium. The raw power of the High Line as a Chelsea wildscape—a spontaneously occurring natural vegetal crust on this elevated rail bed—affords the next step of emancipating park-making from old style, formal ideas of landscape-making that have plagued parks throughout the 20th century. Like Robert Smithson, we do not see Olmsted as the enemy or as the guy to copy, but rather as the first landscape modernist. To us, the "form obsession" of the 20th century is the mask that shackles landscape from being defined as a dynamic and living medium on its own terms. As such, TerraGRAM aspires to reveal the potential social and programmatic links between public space and urban ecology—with people as the most important creatures in this hyper-urban ecology? What Jackson Pollack said over 50 years ago is equally true to day: Man is Nature.

TerraGRAM is lead by the landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh+designer-architect Gullivar Shepard of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates+Stephen Cassell of ARO+Julie Bargmann of D.I.R.T. +Neil Kittridge of BBB, TerraGRAM embraces the capacity of the existing resilient volunteer wildscape atop the High Line to help guide us and enact the transformation of urban park program. How the new High Line Park will be usable within—as part of Chelsea, one of New York's most park-less neighborhoods, is a main concern. We seek to celebrate access as well as the sublime industrial underbelly of the rail corridor itself. TerraGRAM also features the talents of graphic designers 2x4 lead by Michael Rock, the artist James Turrell, railway engineers Daniel Frankfurt, sustainability consultants Battle McCarthy, urban soils and ecology expert Nina Bassuk, author Luc Sante, and the Public Art Fund who will imagine a key role for emerging artists.

Team List

Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Team Leader and Landscape Architecture
Michael Van Valkenburgh
Gullivar Shepard
Jason Siebenmorgen

D.I.R.T. Studio, Industrial Site Design
Julie Bargmann

Beyer Blinder Belle, Urban Design
Neil Kittredge

Daniel Frankfurt, PC, Structural, Civil and Traffic Engineering
Jeffrey Han

ARO, Architecture
Stephen Cassell

2x4, Graphic Design
Michael Rock

Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, Park Systems Consulting
Signe Nielsen

Domingo Gonzalez Associates, Lighting Design
Dominigo Gonzalez

Battle McCarthy, Sustainability Consultants
Guy Battle

Carpenter Norris, Daylight Consultants
David Norris
Jamie Carpenter

Public Art Fund, Arts Programming
Susan Freedman

ACCU-Cost, Cost Estimating
Edward A. Mermelstein

James Turrell, Artist

Luc Sante, Urban Historian

Charles McKinney, Park Operations Consulting

Nina Bassuk, Urban Soils and Ecology

Lynden Miller, Public Garden Design

Ernesto Mark Faunlagui, Design Consulting (Ideas Competition Winner)

Rocky Mountain Institute, Environmental Planning

Bill Browning

Leslie E. Robertson Associates, Structural Engineering
Dan Sesil

GEOD, Land Surveying
Paul J. Emilius

Mueser Rutledge, Geotechnical Engineering
Joel Moskowitz

Environmental Planning & Management, Hazardous Material
Aphrodite Socrates