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Monday, July 13, 2009

The Highline

Sean and I finally made it to walk the Highline a few weekends ago (it's taken me forever to get our photos together - sorry!). The Highline is being built in phases, and the Gansevoort St. - 20th St. section opened on June 8th. The Highline is an amazing asset to NYC - it offers great views of the city that you don't normally get, and is a truly urban park experience. It also interacts with the Standard Hotel in a great way (unfortunately, our camera chip died, so all of my photos of the latter half of our walk are gone, including the photos of the Standard).

Diller Scofidio + Renfro did a wonderful job designing an interesting architectural experience within a very small space, by creating a series of events - a meandering concrete path, wildflower gardens, the 10th Avenue square/viewing portal...James Corner Field Operations did the landscape design. The Highline is only 1/3 done, so there are still a number of architectural pieces missing - the sundeck water feature and rail preserve, the Chelsea thicket, the 23rd St. lawn, the woodland flyover, the 26th St. view spur...Can't wait for those portions to be done! My one criticism is that the park is so streamlined (this may change when the rest of the park gets built) - while there are some benches and stopping spots, they fill up pretty quickly, and you aren't encouraged to sit anywhere except on those benches, so most of the time you keep moving. This detracts somewhat from the park experience, but I suppose it is an urban park, after all.

All renderings are by Diller Scofidio + Renfro and all photos are by Sub-Studio, except where noted otherwise.

Some shots of the concrete path and the way that they mesh with the plantings. To me it references the way that old railroad tracks often become overgrown by their surroundings.

Shots of the various types of benches. I love how the concrete planks are peeled up to become the wooden benches.

I thought the water fountains looked pretty haphazard...It would have been a lot cooler (although maybe impossible?) if the fountains were made out of the same material as the concrete. Would have been nice to have seen the water fountains treated in the same way that the benches are - as integrated pieces of the landscape.

Some of the larger lounging areas - I love the construction of the benches and lounge chairs - layered pieces of wood. They are beautifully made!

The 10th Avenue square/viewing portal is amazing - the path twists its way down to the viewing portal in a series of ramps. A series of steps allow you a space to sit and look out at 10th Ave. (That's Sean hanging out on the steps below.)

Beautiful wildflowers...

Above are renderings of some of the areas that have yet to be built - the sundeck water feature and rail preserve (I think I'm most excited for this water feature/wading pool), the 23rd St. lawn, which will provide more rest area along the Highline, and the 26th St. view spur.

The woodland flyover, which looks like it will be amazing...

Some detail shots of artists' installations, and remnants of the existing Highline conditions.

Sean and I are definitely going to have to make a trip back to the Highline to see it at night - I'm pretty sure it will be an entirely different experience.

Photos of the construction of the Highline (via thehighline.org).

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post, I've been meaning to post about my trip to the Highline, but I might just link to yours instead!


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