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4 Teams 4 Visions on view at Center for Architecture July 16 – August 14

New York, NY – 4 Teams 4 Visions, an exhibition of visionary design proposals by four finalist teams seeking to create a master plan for the High Line elevated rail structure, has opened to the public at AIA New York Chapter's Center for Architecture. It will remain on view through Saturday, August 14. Admission is free.

"These design approaches show why the High Line will be this generation's Central Park," said Robert Hammond, co-founder of Friends of the High Line (FHL), the non-profit organization working to reuse the 1.5-mile-long High Line as public open space. "Here we have some of the design world's greatest minds thinking about new ways to explore open space and architecture and how it relates to the fabric of the city. The design approaches lay out a range of exciting futures for the High Line, and at the same time they demonstrate to cities around the globe new ways to reclaim post-industrial sites to meet modern urban needs."

Each team is led by an architecture firm, a landscape architecture firm, or multiple firms joined in collaborative leadership. Below, team leads and principal consultants, in alphabetical order. (Full team listings are available in the supplemental "Team List" document.)

• Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro with Olafur Eliasson, Piet Oudolf, and Buro Happold

• Zaha Hadid Architects with Balmori Associates, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and studio MDA

• Steven Holl Architects with Hargreaves Associates and HNTB

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

Culmination of Five-Year Initiative
The exhibition marks the latest and most exciting stage in a five-year campaign to open the High Line to the public through federal "rails-to-trails" legislation. The City of New York endorsed the project in December 2002 and has since been working with FHL to create a public open space on the High Line and provide a vital pedestrian link between the Meat Packing District, West Chelsea, and Hell's Kitchen / Hudson Yards.

"The Bloomberg administration is committed to transforming the High Line into a unique and accessible elevated public open space. This is an irreplaceable opportunity which will become one of the most important things we will do for future generations in New York City," said Amanda M. Burden, Chair of the City Planning Commission. "The team we choose must be of a caliber that matches that important task. Fortunately, we are selecting from among the finest minds in architecture and landscape design, whose team submissions demonstrate the creative vision necessary for this project. I am thrilled to be taking part in selecting these talented finalists."

4 Teams 4 Visions Leads to Team Selection
The exhibited work in 4 Teams 4 Visions includes each team's approach to the following issues, visually depicted on six presentation panels:

• A vision for the High Line as a whole

• Access systems (stairs and elevators) that reflect ADA standards

• Spaces underneath the High Line at street crossings

• The landscape atop the High Line

• Sustainability and cultivation of urban ecologies

• Art, cultural, and educational programming opportunities

• Interaction with existing and new construction adjacent to and/or underneath the Line

• Lighting, safety, and maintenance

The presentations were created for the final stage of a design team selection process jointly administered by FHL and the City of New York. The team selection process began in March 2004, when 52 teams applied for consideration. A short-list of seven teams was identified and received a two-stage Request for Proposals (RFP). The short-list was narrowed to four finalists after the first stage of the RFP. The work on display in 4 Teams 4 Visions represents the responses of the four finalists to the second stage of the RFP. It will inform the ultimate selection, later this summer, of a team to create the High Line master plan.

Design Approaches – Not Final Plans
"It's important to note that the visions on display are not final proposals but design approaches," said FHL's Hammond. "They show us the directions each team would take if selected, but master plan itself will be developed only after a team is selected, and there will be numerous opportunities for the public to play a role." Anyone who wishes to be invited to participate in the master planning process should subscribe to FHL's E-Mail Newsletter at

The High Line master plan is expected to be complete by Spring 2005, followed by design of the first construction stage of the High Line project.

A Multi-Stage Design Process: Master Plan Follows Ideas Competition
The design team selection process comes one year after Designing the High Line, FHL's open ideas competition, which attracted 720 entries from 36 countries and included an exhibition at Grand Central Terminal.

"The ideas competition was about catalyzing original, innovative ideas, but the ideas didn't have to be buildable or economically rational," said Hammond. "The proposals on display at 4 Teams 4 Visions, however, show us how pioneering design concepts for this amazing structure can actually be built in the real world of New York City's far West Side."

The High Line Story
The High Line was built in the 1930s as part of the West Side Improvement Project, one of New York City's largest investments in transportation infrastructure. No trains have run on the structure since 1980. In 1999, neighborhood residents founded Friends of the High Line with the mission of converting the structure to an elevated public space – a greenway or promenade. In December 2002, the City of New York took the first step in converting the High Line to a public walkway through federal rails-to-trails legislation.

Related Initiatives
The High Line links three far West Side neighborhoods, all of which are the focus of important City initiatives. At the southern end of the Line, the City established the Gansevoort Market Historic District in Fall 2003, helping to preserve the unique neighborhood character of this vibrant area. In West Chelsea, the City is proposing a rezoning that would include measures intended to facilitate reuse of the High Line, retain the existing concentration of art institutions and galleries, and create new opportunities for affordable- and market-rate housing. In the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood, the City's proposed Hudson Yards rezoning would create a new open space network that would connect to the High Line at 30th Street and reach all the way up to 42nd Street.

Support for Friends of the High Line
Friends of the High Line is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization, founded in 1999 to preserve the High Line for reuse as an elevated public open space. The co-founders of FHL are Joshua David and Robert Hammond.

Support for the project comes from hundreds of local residents, business-owners, and civic organizations, as well elected officials including U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler, New York State Senator Thomas Duane, New York State Assembly Members Deborah Glick and Richard Gottfried, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields, New York City Council Member Christine Quinn, among others.

For information on Friends of the High Line, please visit Questions can be directed to

About Center for Architecture
The Center for Architecture, home of American Institute of Architects' New York Chapter and its charitable affiliate, the New York Foundation for Architecture, is a public facility for all interested in the built environment. Through lectures, exhibitions, symposia, and tours, the Center for Architecture promotes an understanding of the importance of architecture, its cutting edge topics, and technological innovations.

For more information, visit AIA New York Chapter's Web site:

Exhibition Address and Hours
Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place (between Bleecker and West 3rd Streets)
New York, NY 10012

Exhibition Hours
Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
Saturday, 11:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Opening night panel discussion moderated by Kurt Andersen
Thursday, July 15, 6:00 PM
RSVP: email or call (212) 358-6111


David Shein, RFBinder Partners
(212) 994-7514;

Joshua David, Friends of the High Line
(212) 206-9922;

On Wednesday, June 9, at 6:30 p.m., Friends of the High Line invites all interested supporters to its second "Track Heads" get-together: a picnic on the Christopher Street Pier, in Hudson River Park. Please RSVP

You may bring your own picnic dinner, or you may order a boxed dinner through FHL. All those that RSVP will receive an e-mail from FHL with directions to the picnic site and details about the boxed-dinner option.

The Christopher Street Pier is part of the Greenwich Village section of Hudson River Park, which opened in May 2003. Like the larger Hudson River Park, the reconstructed pier is a spectacular amenity for New York City – a place of great beauty with views of passing ships, the Statue of Liberty, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

Special thanks go to Friends of Hudson River Park (FoHRP), our hosts for the evening. FoHRP has scheduled its own series of summer events, including a High Line/Hudson River Park walking tour on June 22.

View full schedule of FoHRP summer events.

About Track Heads: This series of informal get-togethers gives all people interested in the High Line project the chance to meet each other and FHL staff while enjoying the many cultural, recreational, and entertainment opportunities available in the High Line District.

About FoHRP: Friends of Hudson River Park (FoHRP) has been organized to support the development of Hudson River Park on Manhattan's West Side. Its mission is to provide private sector advocacy and financial support for a world-class park on the Hudson that will enrich the experiences of neighboring residents, serve as place of recreation and education for citizens from all parts of the City, and create a great urban waterfront from 59th Street south to the Battery. More information:

Friends of the High Line is pleased to announce that for a limited time – from now until July 28, 2004 – Bumble and bumble will donate a portion of proceeds from its beautiful new salon in the Meat Packing District to Friends of the High Line.

As part of Bumble and bumble's sponsorship of our summer benefit on July 14th, the company will donate $50 to FHL on your behalf when you book any service at its new downtown (13th Street) flagship. Make your appointment by calling the salon's booking room at (212) 521-6500 and mentioning the code HLN. You must already be a donor to Friends of the High Line to take advantage of this generous offer.

About Bumble and bumble's new salon: In the heart of the Meat Packing District, Bumble and bumble has created a destination "hair world" where people can get a great cut or color, take afternoon tea, browse the latest Bb products and a hand-picked selection of books and magazines, and prepare to shop around the block in one of the city's most dynamic neighborhoods. Sweeping top-floor views provide a magnificent view of the Hudson and lower Manhattan – and a perfect view of the High Line, as well.

Bumble and bumble. 415 West 13th Street New York, NY 10014 (212) 521-6500 (use code HLN when booking) Web Site

On Saturday, May 15, the front-page article by Robert Lee Hotz about FHL's efforts to preserve and reuse the High Line. Along with its prominent placement and its thoughtful reporting, the article is notable for the way it defines the High Line as a project of national significance and includes details about other elevated rail-trail projects in Philadelphia, Chicago, and Rotterdam that have been influenced by FHL's work.

Read the Article

The unique nature of the High Line structure, its history, and efforts to reuse it, make it a valuable tool for teaching New York City students about history, architecture, planning, and preservation. FHL conducts its own education program, working directly with high school teachers and students in the High Line neighborhoods, and this year two major non-profit cultural institutions have initiated High Line teaching programs. FHL has been actively involved with Cooper-Hewitt's "City of Neighborhoods" program, inspiring New York City high school students to create reuse proposals for the High Line. Dia:Chelsea and Eyebeam, meanwhile, have joined in their "New Media Collaborative" program to work with students from Bayard Rustin High School for the Humanities to create High Line-themed digital art projects in Web design, sound, performance, and video art. This month, "City of Neighborhoods" and "New Media Collaborative" both present student work:

New Media Collaborative: Exploring the High Line
Friday, May 14, 4:00 – 6:00 PM
541 West 21st Street (10th — 11th Avenues)
No RSVP required

A City of Neighborhoods: Designing the High Line
Tuesday, May 25, 7:30pm – 9:30pm
The Aurora Gallery
515 West 29th Street, 2nd Floor (10th – 11th Avenues)
RSVP (212) 849-8380

An exhibition of design approaches to the High Line's conversion to public open space, featuring work by three design teams competing to create the High Line master plan, will be mounted in mid-July 2004. First there will be a one-night preview of the exhibition at Diane von Furstenberg Studio on July 14 as part of FHL's 4th Annual Summer Benefit - buy tickets. The exhibition will then publicly open at the AIA Center for Architecture, 536 LaGuardia Place, where it can be viewed free of charge for several weeks. More information about the opening at the Center for Architecture, open hours, and public events associated with the exhibition will be forthcoming in future FHL E-Mail Newsletters.

The three teams exhibiting work will be finalists in a multi-stage design team selection process that began in March and is being jointly conducted by FHL and the City of New York. It is expected that one of the teams exhibiting will be contracted to design a master plan for the Line. Following team selection, the master planning process is expected to begin in September 2004, with regular opportunities for public participation.

It's important to note that the work to be exhibited this summer will not represent final design proposals. FHL and the City of New York are working to select a team, not a specific design. The teams have each been asked to illustrate their project approach, with the understanding that the master plan itself will be developed following team selection, with regular consultation with the City, FHL, and the greater High Line community.

Michael Arad, whose "Reflecting Absence" proposal won the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition, has joined the firm of FHL board member Gary Edward Handel. In the New York Times Arad said of Handel, "It's almost like a shared DNA. I felt that I could confide in him and that we would be able to work together very well." Handel Architects will now hold the memorial design contract with the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation. In the New York Times Handel said, "The opportunity to use your skills to contribute to such an important project is something you just can't walk away from.… It will have first call on all of our time."

Gary Edward Handel is a founding board member of Friends of the High Line. His work advocating on behalf of the High Line's preservation and reuse has been crucial to FHL's success, and his vision and expert guidance played a major role in the success of the "Designing the High Line" ideas competition. Since 1999, Handel's firm has donated thousands of hours of pro-bono assistance to the High Line project. Ed Tachibana, an architect at Handel Architects, designed FHL's new Meat Packing District office and designed and produced FHL's 2002 "Reclaiming the High Line" exhibition at the Municipal Art Society.

Tickets at some price-levels for FHL's July 14 Summer Benefit have sold out. Buy tickets now to assure your place at this exciting summer event.

Pre-benefit cocktail party, fashion show, and exhibition preview at Diane von Furstenberg Studio: Tickets at the $150 level have sold out. A limited number of tickets at the $250 level are still available.

Benefit dinner overlooking the High Line at Phillips, de Pury & Company (including pre-benefit cocktail, fashion show, and exhibition preview at Diane von Furstenberg Studio):
A limited number of tickets at the $500 level are still available. After the $500 tickets sell out, the lowest ticket-price will be $1,000.

The High Line's conversion to public open space will transform 1.5 miles of Manhattan, but it also will serve as a model for cities across the country – and around the world. In recent months, FHL has consulted with two new groups working to create public open spaces on elevated rail structures like the High Line: the Reading Viaduct, in Philadelphia, and the Hofpleinlijn, in Rotterdam.

Below, you will find information about the Reading Viaduct and the Hofpleinlijn, and other elevated rail structures, including viaducts and bridges, in various stages of conversion to public open space. As you can see, cities around the world contain underused, underappreciated structures like the High Line. It's part of our mission at FHL to make the High Line a model for the innovative reuse of these structures to create open space, sustainable transportation options, and social and economic benefits.

We would love to make this list more comprehensive. If you know of a project we should add, please e-mail

Reading Viaduct, Philadelphia
Reading Railroad commuter trains used this 4.7-acre, mile-long viaduct, near the center of downtown Philadelphia, to enter Reading Terminal, at 12th and Market Street (currently the Grand Hall of the Pennsylvania Convention Center). Built in 1890, the viaduct is a combination of embankment sections bridged by steel structures and arched masonry bridges. Service stopped on the viaduct in 1984, when an underground commuter tunnel replaced the viaduct. Today the viaduct's four elevated tracks have been overtaken by grasses and trees. It offers spectacular views of the Callowhill neighborhood and the downtown Philadelphia skyline. In 2003, residents of the Reading Viaduct neighborhood formed the Reading Viaduct Project, with the goal of transforming the viaduct to an elevated walkway in conjunction with the redevelopment of their neighborhood.

The Hofpleinlijn, Rotterdam
The Hofpleinlijn is a 1.2-mile-long concrete rail viaduct built in 1908. CityCorp, a partnership of housing associations based in Rotterdam, envisions reuse of the Hofpleinlijn viaduct – a national landmark – as a catalyst for development of the adjacent communities. In 2003, CityCorp commissioned New Amsterdam Development Consultants, a New York City-based company, to study New York's High Line and the work of Friends of the High Line as models for reuse strategies for the Hofpleinlijn.
(Web site information is limited. For more information, contact Frank Uffen,, (212) 371-9860)

Bloomingdale Trail, Chicago
This elevated embankment with 37 bridges on the North Side of Chicago is owned by Canadian Pacific Railway (CP Rail). The mission of Friends of the Bloomingdale Trail is to transform the embankment into a mixed-use trail. The plan has the support of all the local aldermen along its route, and the City of Chicago has begun developing concept plans for the Trail as a component of its Logan Square Open Space Plan. In addition, the City funded an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project.

Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail
In development since 2000, the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail will, when completed, stretch from Mile Marker 106 in Key Largo to Mile Marker 0 in Key West. In many sections, it will adaptively reuse overseas bridges of Henry Flagler's railroad route as bike/pedestrian trails. There are 23 historic bridges in total, and three of them have already been listed on the National Register. 17 can feasibly be retrofitted for trail use. Five of them have already been opened to trail use in the Saddlebunch Keys, with a combined length of four miles. Another historic bridge is open to bike and pedestrian traffic at Pigeon Key. Over the course of the next four years, the State Division of Parks will concentrate on retrofitting bridges between Key West and Islamorada.

Harsimus Stem Embankment, Jersey City
Built in 1902, the Pennsylvania Railroad Harsimus Stem Embankment is a former rail viaduct that runs for six blocks along Sixth Street in downtown Jersey City. It was entered into the State Register of Historic Places in 1999, is eligible for the National Register, and was named a Municipal Landmark in January 2003. The Embankment once served as the eastern freight terminus for the Pennsylvania Railroad, the most powerful railroad in the nation, and contributed to the growth of the Port of New York and the greater metropolitan area. Seven tracks ran on top of the structure, which descended almost to grade level at its eastern end, where it entered the Harsimus Yards on the Hudson River waterfront. Goods shipped via the Embankment were loaded onto a flotilla of boats for transport across the Hudson River, New York Harbor, and the East River. To the south, at the Pennsylvania Railroad passenger terminal—once the largest passenger terminal in the world—travelers ended their cross-country rail trips and boarded ferries for New York or destinations beyond. That terminal is long gone, but the freightway remains. In 1998, the Embankment Preservation Coalition formed with the mission of preserving the historic structure and developing its top as passive open space, integrating the site into a network of local and regional pedestrian and biking trails. In 2003, the East Coast Greenway Alliance, which is joining local trails in a 2600-mile pedestrian and bicycling path from Florida to Maine, endorsed a route through New Jersey that includes the Embankment. In 2004, Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham announced he would take the Embankment by eminent domain from Conrail, and the Municipal Council unanimously passed a resolution in support of Green Acres funding for acquisition.

The Promenade Plantée, Paris
From the late 1980s through the mid-1990s, the city of Paris successfully converted the 19th-century elevated Viaduc Daumesnil, in the 12th Arrondissement, near the Bastille, into a pedestrian walkway called the Promenade Plantée. Rail traffic had stopped on the viaduct in 1969. The 3-mile linear park, designed by Philippe Mathieu and Jacques Vergely, is lavishly planted and offers stairs and elevators for access. Retail spaces, designed by Patrick Berger, were created in the spaces under the masonry arches supporting the structure. The project as a whole helped revitalize the surrounding neighborhood, inspiring new residents and businesses to come to the area. The Promenade Plantée also goes by two other names: le Viaduc des Arts, and la Coulée Verte.

Stone Arch Bridge, Minneapolis
This 2,100-foot-long granite and limestone bridge, crossing the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, was built in 1882-3 to move freight and passengers across the river. It is the only stone arch bridge to cross the Mississippi, and it incorporates an unusual 6-degree curve on the west bank of the river to provide smooth access to the Union Railway Depot (now demolished). It was a working rail bridge until 1978. Rehabilitation of this National Historic Engineering Landmark began in 1993. It now accommodates pedestrians and cyclists, and it is part of the two-mile St. Anthony Falls Heritage Trail. The bridge offers excellent views of adjacent St. Anthony Falls, the only true waterfall on the Mississippi River. It also connects to Mill Ruins Park, a historical park containing the ruins of the 19th century flour mills that were major engines of the Minneapolis economy. Nearby, a former Northern Pacific rail bridge (known locally as "Bridge 9") spanning the Mississippi River just downstream of St. Anthony Falls was reopened as the Dinkytown Bikeway Connection in June 2000. The 1400-foot-long bridge was purchased by the city of Minneapolis for $1 in 1986 after years of disuse and was refurbished in 2000-2001 using federal TEA-21 funding. The rail-to-trail conversion is part of the city's extensive bikeway network and connects the East and West Bank campuses of the University of Minnesota.

The High Line, New York City
The High Line, a 1.5-mile-long elevated rail structure on Manhattan's West Side, was constructed in the 1930s as part of one of New York City's largest investments in transportation infrastructure, called the West Side Improvement Project. No trains have run on it in over 20 years. A lush urban wilderness has seeded itself on the High Line's tracks. In 1999, neighborhood residents founded Friends of the High Line, a non-profit organization, with the mission of converting the structure to an elevated public space – a greenway or promenade. In December 2002, the City of New York took the first step in converting the High Line to a walkway through federal rails-to-trails legislation. In March, 2004, Friends of the High Line, in conjunction with the City of New York, officially started the process that will lead to the selection of the design team that will create the master plan for the new public open space. A design team selection is expected by September 2004.

"The High Line", the beautiful, 12-minute documentary film produced and directed by John Zieman, can now be viewed online, free of charge. View the Film The film was originally made as part of the "Designing the High Line" exhibition at Grand Central Terminal in summer 2003. It features lush footage of the High Line's elevated rail deck and interviews with actor Edward Norton, designer Diane von Furstenberg, photographer Joel Sternfeld, architect Steven Holl, New York City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, students from the High School of Environmental Science, and FHL co-founders Robert Hammond and Joshua David.

This film is always available for viewing at the Friends of the High Line Web site. The film can also be purchased in DVD or VHS format from Friends of the High Line for $15, including shipping. To purchase film, e-mail Rick Little: