When hearing the word “skybridge” or “elevated walkway,” what often comes to mind is a narrow, glassed-in pathway perhaps crossing between two office buildings or hospital concourses; a narrow artery whose only purpose seems to be keeping people dry and away from cars as they walk from meeting to meeting. But this wasn’t always the case - in the 1960s, skyways were seen as radical urban inventions that would bring city circulation into the 3rd dimension. Championed in the United States by architect Victor Gruen, following ideals espoused by both CIAM and Team 10 in Europe, the skyway movement took hold in cities all over the world with varying degrees of success, but rarely with the fluid connections between levels originally envisioned by its designers.
The west side of midtown Manhattan is probably one of the more unexplored areas of New York City by residents and tourists alike. Aside from the Jacob Javits Center, and the different programs off of the Hudson River Parkway that runs parallel to the waterfront, there is very little reason to walk through this industry – and infrastructure – dominated expanse of land full of manufacturers, body shops, parking facilities and vacant lots. The NYC government and various agencies, aware of the lost potential of this area, began hatching plans in 2001 to develop this 48-block, 26-acre section, bound by 43rd Street to the North, 8th Ave to the East, 30th Street to the South and the West Side Highway to the West.
The new Hudson Yards, NYC’s largest development, will be a feat of collaboration between many agencies and designers. The result will be 26 million square feet of new office development, 20,000 units of housing, 2 million square feet of retail, and 3 million square feet of hotel space, mixed use development featuring cultural and parking uses, 12 acres of public open space, a new public school and an extension of a subway line the 7 that currently terminates at Times Square-42nd Street, reintroducing the otherwise infrastructurally isolated portion of the city back into the life of midtown Manhattan. All this for $800 million with up to $3 billion in public money.
Join us after the break for details and images.