To BeginningPreviousNext

For more than 20 years, Steven Holl has been living and working in the neighborhoods traversed by the High Line. He was in a $200-a-month rental on West 21st Street, he said, thinking about mixed-income housing for the site, "when the last railroad car full of frozen turkeys went down the line" in 1980. Times have changed: the once run-down neighborhood is now a luxury destination. And Mr. Holl's vision has been updated as well. "I want to make it a slice of green," he said, with large cuts incised in the rail bed in the manner of the artist Gordon Matta Clark. "The structure was so overbuilt that parts of it can be removed to bring light down below," said Mr. Holl, who consulted with the engineers Guy Nordenson and HNTB of New York as well as the landscape designers Hargreaves Associates.

Mr. Holl wants to let the "steel calligraphy of the undergirders" stand out as a kind of lost-and-found sculpture. There are a few flourishes: a tiered plaza and staircase in the spirit of the Spanish Steps in Rome; others designed by the artists Matthew Barney and Vito Acconci; an observation tower; and at the southern tip, a bridge leading to a water taxi. And the undersides of the platform would feature L.E.D. displays publicizing local galleries. "It's all straightforward," he said. "Our plan allows for five blocks to be ready to open in a year and a half. Our goal is to make it real."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company