The High Line, once a vital component of New York’s elevated rail system has transformed into a 1.5 mile long urban park stretching along the West Side neighborhoods of the Meatpacking District, West Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen. Diller, Scofidio + Renfo (previously featured in a Perspectives blog) and James Corner Field Operations are the architects and landscape architects responsible for the one-of-a-kind urban/nature integration.
The High Line was built in the 1930s as a safer faster option to carry freight and continued to do so until 1980. In 1999 the city threatened demolition, which triggered the formation of “Friends of the High Line” who quickly became the catalyst for the renovation and preservation of the infrastructure. Upfitting the structure was no small feat. The project is, cleverly, an alliance between the original rail lines and the pattern they create with the overgrown wildlife permitted to continually overtake the park. This, in turn, allows the visitors to meander through their own paths.
The new paving system consists of individual pre-cast concrete units that reinforce the linearity of the project. These units are also separated just enough to allow nature to grow as it might. DS+R describe the park as “accommodating the wild, the cultivated, the intimate, and the social.”
The previous images show the completion of phase 1 that opened in June 2009, which includes Gansevoort Street to 20th Street. The following images are from phase 2, which opened this month June, 8 2011 from West 20th Street to West 30th Street. For a complete timeline of events and other information, check out the website of The High Line and Friends of the High Line. www.thehighline.org