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Rail Revival: Designs for New York's High Line Unveiled
Plans for the New York rail saved from demolition in 2002 celebrate the city and nature.

New York’s High Line rail may be defunct, but it hasn't been forgotten. On April 19th, the City of New York and the Friends of the High Line (FHL), a non-profit organization dedicated to the structure's preservation, will display at the Museum of Modern Art preliminary renderings of the rail’s renewal by winning design team Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro.

In 2001, the city committed to demolish the 1930's 22-block long elevated railway bed, which runs along Manhattan's West Side, but a lengthy battle led to plans for renovation and reconstruction.

The exhibit "the High Line," running through July 18, will concentrate mainly on the stretch between Gansevoort Street and 15th Street. Photographs and renderings of the site's wilderness, pits, ramps, and tracks will be on display. Intimate design details will be revealed--including a "vegetal balcony," a "woodland thicket," a "sunken overlook," and a sundeck overlooking the Hudson River.

The project offers New Yorkers a unique combination of nature and the urban landscape. "It is a wilderness atop an engineered structure, historic yet modern, and an escape from busy streets it is physically linked to," says Robert Hammond, co-founder of FHL. "The High Line will enhance our community, as well as our economy, and create a new way for New Yorkers to celebrate the urban environment."

In conjunction with state planning departments and community input, the team has incorporated landscaping, ongoing operations, maintenance, sustainability, and historic preservation. Framework concerns--including structure length, planking, planting, furnishing, access, and lighting--are also addressed.

This will be the first public viewing of the ongoing project since its inception in the fall of 2004. Groundbreaking will take place in 2005. "The new architecture," says Ricardo Scofidio, principal of Diller Sofidio + Renfro, "will grow spontaneously, yet remain synthetic to the tracks--a lot like the wild plants there now."







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