WEST SIDE'S HIGH LINE
Bold visions for rusty icon
BY LUIS PEREZ
July 16, 2004
Four teams of architects unveiled preliminary designs yesterday for transforming the rusted elevated High Line rail viaduct on the West Side into a "park of the future."
One plan calls for a "wetland beach" complete with sand and water. Two call for theaters underneath the 1.5 mile, historic structure. All seek to transform the 6.7-acre span into a futuristic greenspace in the sky.
"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, a nonprofit group that picked the four plans from 52 designs submitted in March.
The High Line runs for 22 blocks on the far West Side, from West 33rd Street to Gansevoort Street.
The project has widespread support from elected officials, and was touted yesterday by City Planning Commissioner Amanda Burden as a direct link to the proposed Hudson Yards project, which would rezone the area west of Seventh Avenue between 30th and 42nd streets.
The Hudson Yards project would include new parks and streetscapes, as well as the extension of the No. 7 subway line, a renovated Javits Center and a Jets stadium.
"The Bloomberg administration is committed to transforming the High Line into a unique and accessible open space," said Burden, who will help select the final design.
The designs are on display through Aug. 14 at the Center for Architecture at 536 LaGuardia Place in Greenwich Village.
The four designs did not include estimates of how much it would cost to transform the High Line, which was built 70 years ago as a rail connection from warehouses to piers and has been defunct since 1980.
Hammond said cost estimates range from $60 million to $100 million. A master plan is expected by spring 2005.
The plan also faces zoning approval this fall.
One finalist, landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh of TerraGRAM, compared the project to a "raw chicken that needs spices."
Highlights of the High Line - Architects unveiled plans to develop the High Line rail viaduct in Chelsea into a park of the future yesterday. Here are highlights from the four finalists.
SEE THE EXHIBITION:
Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place (Between Bleecker and W. 3rd Streets)
9 a.m. - 8 p.m.
11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
SOURCE: FRIENDS OF THE HIGH LINE
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