"Proponents of passenger rail are continually pressed to provide profitability, while few ask whether airlines or auto companies would be profitable without massive government subsidies and bailouts." - A Country of Cities: A Manifesto For Urban America
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An Idea for the Highline Extension From Hudson Yards to Moynihan Trails
The proposition for this project was to develop an extension of the highline to connect The Shed of Hudson Yards to Moynihan Trails, which is also going through a huge design development in time to come. This objective was to be executed through an exploration of pedestrian bridges in steel. As soon as I recollected on this project, the first thing that came to mind was a quote, "Truss me I'm an Architect", and if you know a bit about the differences we face as Architects vs Engineers, then you would understand the humor in that quote. Even more so, when the proposition required the more in depth understandings of the bridges, there material properties and detail of construction. But through this project the design did not lean much towards the structural capacities of the bridges, although their structural identities and aesthetics were carefully thought out, it was really developed through an idea of cities and interaction. Additionally, one of the main goals of the project is to create a speedway, for pedestrian and bike use, from one point to the other. But to me, there are so many ways to derive The Pathway. There are many hotspots in Midtown Manhattan between both points and so that is how the project developed.
A great interest in understanding the potentials and use of this extension of the highline as a speedway became relative and important when documenting and illustrating potential hotspots in the designated area. Therefore, diagrams were developed that emphasized the notions of density, which you find in the images shown as 'connection', where the cyan blue represents nodes of where there may be high interaction. These nodes become important because they represent overpopulation, the need of another streetscape to travel on and potentials of surplus activity. So the highline now becomes apart of the Midtown's economic fabric and a greenway to exhale the claustrophobia of the city. Hence, you see the density identification diagrams that show the different potentials and outcomes of the pathways based on selected "hotspots" of density. But as efficiency and cost was considered, the pathway became a relatively simpler one with only three bridges and a much more coherent travel to the existing conditions and use of the site. The path has much more use if it travels along side the bus terminal, where the expectation of visitors may be higher than in other areas. Moreover, the selected path created an experience that goes from the Hudson Yards which is very high density, to medium density by the bus terminal and then to very high density as it approached Moynihan Trails and Madison Square Garden, to a low density as it ends back into what is a quieter Townhouse residential block.
The idea is that through this extended experience, not only will the tourist take use of it, but also the people that are traveling on commute and in need of getting to different destinations points at a faster rate will enjoy the architecture and ingenuity of the design. The design of the greenway and pedestrian bridges is thoughtfully articulated through parabolic forms and arches that are in tensile with steel chords and are settled on the ground through driven steel piles. While at the moment the design is conceptual, the parabolic forms are to be thought of as fabricated properties that are melted and welded to create its structural form. Which is what you find in the sketch images below presenting the parabolic forms and the tensile structure of the greenway and pedestrian bridges. At each end point of the bridges, there are also bike ramps and stairs that allow the travelers to get off The Pathway, and the bike ramps also add an interesting composition to the parabolic profile which you find in the section shown introducing the notion of the Tres Trois. Tres Trois, represents the idea of the connection of three, three points, three bridges with their own densities and destinations providing one full experience which leads to the Tres Trois lounge for a coffee and wine bar.
The coffee and wine bar is supposed to be the culmination of the city experience, having gone through the pretty bridges suspended above the streets, through tensile chords lit up in the evening, one can then relax in the lounge and have a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and enjoy a chat or work on their laptop before heading home or jumping on the train to their next destination out of the city. Currently, there is a parking garage in this lot and once this extension of the highline is brought forth, the idea of keeping that parking lot is almost opposing and depleting to the nature of the project and what it is bringing to the location. So, Tres Trois, Coffee and Wine Bar, would be an excellent development for the space and an incredible addition to the highline experience.
Hudson Yards - Moynihan Trails
Connectivity - Density - Volume
Greenway, Highline Extended
Greenway, Highline Extended
Moment of Alliance
Moment of Intersection
Moment of Connection
Tres Trois Termination - Coffee/Wine Shop
Hudson Yards - Tres Trois - Monyihan Trails
Courtesy: Amtrack, Empire State Development, SOM