The High Line’s Final Chapter is Complete; But Don’t Close the Book Just Yet

View looking west along one of the Rail Track Walks. Image © Iwan Baan, 2014 (Section 3)

With the opening of the final section of New York’s High Line last month, the city can finally take stock on an urban transformation that took a decade and a half from idea to reality - and which in the five years since the first section opened has become one of the great phenomena of 21st century , inspiring copycat proposals in cities around the globe. In this article, originally published by Metropolis Magazine as “The High Line’s Last Section Plays Up Its Rugged Past,” Anthony Paletta reviews the new final piece to the puzzle, and examines what this landmark project has meant for ’s West Side.

The promise of any urban railroad, however dark or congested its start, is the eventual release onto the open frontier, the prospect that those buried tracks could, in time, take you anywhere. For those of us whose only timetable is our walking pace, this is the experience of the newly opened, final phase of the High Line. The park, after snaking in its two initial stages through some 20 dense blocks of Manhattan, widens into a broad promenade that terminates in an epic vista of the Hudson. It’s a grand coda and a satisfying finish to one of the most ambitious park designs in recent memory.

Take a Walk on the High Line with Iwan Baan

View looking west along one of the Rail Track Walks. Image © Iwan Baan, 2014 (Section 3)

Sunday marked the completion of the City High Line, a three-phased project that transformed the once disused elevated rail tracks on Manhattan’s West Side into one of the world’s most respected public parks. With the first section opening in 2009, architectural photographer Iwan Baan has been documenting the entire process. Now, for the first time we present to you a photographic journey through the completed designed by James Corner Field Operations with Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Take a look, after the break.

The High Line’s Third (and Final) Section Opens this Weekend

Fantastic news: the High Line at the Rail Yards – the third and northernmost section of the park – will be opening to the public on Sunday, September 21! Read the full announcement: http://bit.ly/RailYardsOpening Photo of the Interim Walkway, one of the new design features in the Rail Yards, by Kathleen Fitzgerald | OCD

This Sunday (September 21), the third and final section of the City High Line will open at the Rail Yards. You can expect to see familiar benches morphed into picnic tables and seesaws amongst a lush, diverse and seemingly unkept that is reminiscent of the “forgotten” tracks. As Piet Oudolf - the Dutch garden designer who worked with James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio & Renfro - described, the $75 million northernmost section will be an “introduction to the wild” that responds directly to the public’s desire to “walk on the original tracks.” Stay tuned for more images from the opening.

Five Proposals Unveiled for Presidio Parklands in San Francisco

The Observation Post / CMG . Image © CMG Courtesy of the Presidio Trust

Last week, the five teams competing for the Presidio Parkland project in San Francisco unveiled their proposals in a public meeting at the project site. The parkland, made possible by the replacement of an elevated highway by a new tunnel, will command stunning views of the bay, including views of the Golden Gate bridge.

“This is a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to create and design new parklands,” Executive Director of the Presidio Trust Craig said. “We are extremely pleased with the caliber of the work of the five design teams and look forward to hearing the public’s feedback on these early concepts.”

Competing for the prestigious project are James Corner Field Operations, OLIN with Olson Kundig ArchitectsSnøhetta with Hood Design StudioWest 8, and CMG Landscape Architecture. A winner will be announced in January.

Read on after the break to see all five proposals

MCHAP Shortlists the 36 Most “Outstanding Projects” in the Americas

Wiel Arets, Dean of the College of Architecture at Institute of Technology () and Dirk Denison, Director of the Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP), have announced the inaugural MCHAP shortlist – 36 “Outstanding Projects” selected from the 225 MCHAP nominees.

“The rich diversity of these built works is a testament to the creative energy at work in the Americas today,” said Arets. “When viewed alongside the innovative work by the MCHAP.emerge finalists and winner, Poli House by Mauricio Pezo and Sofia von Ellrichshausen which we honored in May, we see the evolution of a distinctly American conversation about creating livable space.” See all 36 winners after the break.

Presidio Trust Enlists 5 to Envision New Schemes for Crissy Field

Presidio From Southeast. Image © Robert Campbell

’s Presidio Trust isn’t giving up. After rejecting three shortlisted schemes earlier this year that envisioned a “cultural institution of distinction” for the underdeveloped Crissy Field, the Trust has now invited five new teams to envision “kid-friendly” plans for a 13 acre portion of the site.

The five teams, which include , Olson Kundig Architects and Snøhetta, are expected to present their ideas publicly in just three months. A winner will not be selected, though each team will receive $25,000 for their efforts. However, the Trust will be inclined to work with one of the teams should their concepts “dazzle” the audience.

A complete list of the five teams and more project information, after the break…

VIDEO: Liz Diller on the High Line, A Mile of Respite in the City that Never Sleeps

Liz Diller, one of the three partners of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, discusses the history of the High Line and the active design decisions which led to its success.

The elevated railroad, which was designed to penetrate city blocks rather than parallel an avenue, saw its last delivery (of frozen turkeys) in 1980. By 1999, a “very strange landscape had formed, with a whole eco system around it,” says Diller. Advocacy for the site’s preservation began with two local residents, and culminated in its reclamation with the multidisciplinary collaboration of city officials and impassioned designers (namely James Corner Field Operations, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and planting designer Piet Oudolf). “The High Line project couldn’t have happened without the right people, the right time and the right administration.”

Today, thirty-feet above the hardscape in the canopy of the New York City jungle, the High Line pauses for a meditative mile. “The high line, if it’s about anything, it’s about nothing, about doing nothing. You can walk and sit, but you can’t be productive,” comments Diller.

New Images Unveiled of Cornell Tech’s Roosevelt Island Campus

YouTube Preview Image

New information has been released — along with a series of renders — seven months after the New York City Council approved Cornell University’s two million square foot technology campus in Roosevelt Island. Envisioned as “a campus built for the next century,” Cornell Tech’s first set of buildings has tapped into the talent of some of the most respected architecture firms in the city: Morphosis‘ Pritzker Prize-winning Thom Mayne, Weiss/Manfredi Architecture, Handel Architects, and Skidmore Owings & Merrill.

New images of the buildings, after the break…

“Immersive Bowl-Shaped Structure” Proposed to be High Line’s Final Gateway

© and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, courtesy of the City of

Friends of the High Line, along side James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, have unveiled what could possibly be the gateway into the third and final stretch of New York’s most prized parkway. Planned to mark the northeast terminus of the High Line at Rail Yards on 10th Avenue at West 30th Street, the “immersive bowl-shaped structure,” known as “The Spur,” hopes to bring a pocket of New York’s lush woodlands to the heart of the city.

Updated Plans Released for Chicago’s Navy Pier

Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations, nARCHITECTS / Pierscape Team

James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) and nARCHITECTS have released updated renderings for their competition-winning redesign of ’s 3,300 foot long . The slightly scaled-back, revised plans seemed to have dismissed the more “dramatic” and costly facets reviewed in last years’ submittal, such as the floating pool and sand beach, to depict a contemporary “park-like feel.” Highlighted features include the south-facing Wave Wall and grand stairway, inspired by the Spanish Steps in Rome, along with an interactive splash fountain-turned-winter ice skating rink at the beginning of a heavily vegetated promenade.

These updated plans for phase-one of the Navy Pier redesign were released alongside an announcement by the Chicago Mayor’s office that confirmed the project will receive $55 million in public funding.

More images and information after the break…

Landfill Reclamation: Fresh Kills Park Develops as a Natural Coastal Buffer and Parkland for Staten Island

Courtesy of Department of Parks and Recreation – Draft Master Plan

Every natural disaster has an “aftershock” in which we realize the fragility of our planet and the vulnerability of what we have built and created.  We realize the threat to our lifestyles and the flaws in our design choices.  The response to in October 2012 was no different than the response to every other hurricane, earthquake, tornado , tsunami or monsoon that has wrought devastation in different parts of the world.  We recognize our impact on the climate and promise to address how our development has caused severe disruptions in the planet’s self-regulating processes.   We acknowledge how outdated our systems of design have become in light of these damaging weather patterns and promise to change the way we design cities, coastlines and parks.  We gradually learn from our mistakes and attempt to redress them with smarter choices for more sustainable and resilient design.  Most importantly, we realize that we must learn from how natural processes self-regulate and apply these conditions to the way in which we design and build our urban spaces.

Since Hurricane Sandy, early considerations of environmentalists, planners and designers have entered the colloquial vocabulary of politicians in addressing the issues of the United States’ North Atlantic Coast.  There are many issues that need to be tackled in regards to environmental development and urban design.  One of the most prominent forces of Hurricane Sandy was the storm surge that pushed an enormous amount of ocean salt water far inland, flooding whole neighborhoods in New Jersey, submerging most of ’s southern half, destroying coastal homes along Long Island and the Rockaways, and sweeping away parts of Staten Island.  Yet, despite the tremendous damage, there was a lot that we learned from the areas that resisted the hurricane’s forces and within those areas are the applications that we must address for the rehabilitation and future development of these vulnerable conditions. Ironically, one of the answers lies within Fresh Kills – Staten Island’s out-of-commission landfill, which was the largest landfill in the United States until it was shutdown in 2001.  Find out how after the break.

LA’s Millennium Hollywood Project

Millennium Hollywood Project via Millennium Partners

Millennium Partners and Argent Ventures are moving forward with their plan to transform 4.47 acres of vacant parking lots surrounding Hollywood’s iconic, mid-century Capitol Records Building into a transit-oriented, mixed-use development. Located on the famous intersection of Hollywood and Vine, the Millennium Hollywood Project will feature two residential buildings reaching heights up to 585 feet, designed by Handel Architects, that are grounded by a High Line-inspired public space by .

With the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) currently on public review, the -based developers are hoping to get city approvals underway in early 2013.

Continue reading to learn more…

James Corner Field Operations Team Wins Navy Pier Competition

Courtesy of James Corner Field Operations

Today, the Chicago Tribune has reported James Corner Field Operations Team has been selected to redesign the 3,000 foot-long landmark, . Blair Kamin stated that the pier’s governing board approved the recommendation from the pier’s strategic planning committee to hire the JFCO team as they favored the team’s practical, yet still creative approach over the other, somewhat grandiose, schemes. It has been a big week for JCFO, as James Corner and Rich Scofidio’s latest ideas for the third section of the High Line were released on Tuesday. Continue reading for more information on the latest news regarding the winners of the international Navy Pier redesign competition.

Update: Community Meeting / Friends of the High Line

Interim Walkway at the Western Rail Yards. James Corner Field Operations and Diller Scofidio + Renfro. Courtesy City of New York and Friends of the

Last night, ArchDaily joined the community of Chelsea and Friends of the High Line in the crowded auditorium of PS 11: The William T Harris School eager to see James Corner and Rick Scofidio’s latest ideas for the third installment of the High Line.  This last segment of the amazing elevated park project is the designers’ most crucial intervention as it culminates the strategies introduced in Phases 1 and 2 and must adaptively respond to new contextual relationships between 34th and 30th Streets.   Corner and Scofidio’s eloquent and coherent presentation very much responded to the community’s input from the last public meeting held in December, as the design addressed the need for a child’s play area with an idea for a section with rubberized beams, a place for spontaneous and planned performances, and more seating.  Scofidio kidded, “There are some things we could do better, and that’s exactly why we get to do the third phase.”

More about Phase 3 after the break.

Fast Company 50 Most Innovative Companies: James Corner Field Operations

Photo via Inhabitat

  architect, James Corner, has a way of not only designing captivating landscapes, but making places where people want to be. While thousands have experienced his transformation of ’s industrial rail line, Corner’s impact is also evident in major metropolises on an international level as his competition entries and built work inspire a sense of urban renewal and restore confidence in their settings. In fact, Fast Company has recently named James Corner Field Operations as one of 50 most innovative companies of the  world for “creating intimate green spaces out of industrial urban blight.”

More about JCFO after the break.

Pierscape / James Corner Field Operations Team

Courtesy of

James Corner Field Operations (JCFO) is one of five shortlisted teams invited to participate in an international design competition to renovate and reactivate ’s landmark Navy Pier. Unveiled to the public last month, the goal of the intervention is to refocus the experience of the pier to the lakeside. This is an opportunity for the city to reassess what the waterfront means to an urban center and the character of its identity.

Update: Navy Pier design teams present to the public

Existing Image of the Navy Pier © Stephen Hanafin via flickr - http://www.flickr.com/photos/shanafin/

Starting tomorrow, the five design teams selected to redesign the outdoor spaces of Chicago’s Navy Pier will begin to reveal their schemes to the public. Lead by AECOM, Aedas Architects, James Corner Field Operations, !melk and the Xavier Vendrell Studio, each team will be given thirty minutes to present their ideas, followed by a ten minute question and answer session. The presentations will take place on January 31st and February 1st at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Continue reading for the presentation schedules and more information on the competition.

Video: James Corner / TIME Magazine Game Changers

Check out this great video on one of our favorite architects, James Corner.  Named one of Time Magazine’s Game Changers - “innovators and problem-solvers that are inspiring change in America” – thousands have enjoyed Corner’s work on the High Line, and we are excited to monitor the progress of Corner’s recent joint win with SOM on Cornell’s NYC Tech Campus.  The video sheds light upon Corner’s philosophy on landscape and how public spaces are a defining component of urban spaces.   “…As designers, you bring an incredible sense of optimism and faith….and the capacity of good design to transform what may be perceived as negative to something very positive,” explained Corner.  Overall, we found the video inspiring and we hope you enjoy it!