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 urban planning, inspiring copycat proposals in cities around the globe. In this article, originally published by 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 Manhattan’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.

Jean Nouvel’s Tower Verre Finally Ready to Break Ground

© Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Jean Nouvel‘s long-awaited 53 West 53rd Street, also known as the Tower Verre or the Tower, may finally be ready to move ahead with construction after the project’s developer Hines purchased $85.3 million worth of air rights from its neighbors MoMA and the St Thomas Episcopal Church and arranged the $860 million construction loan required for the project.

Originally proposed in 2007, the design has been plagued by problems, including significant delays due to the financial crisis and a difficult approval process which resulted in the building’s height being slashed from 1,250 feet to its current planned height of 1,050 feet. However, according to a statement from Hines groundbreaking on the project is now “imminent.”

High-Speed “Skyway” Aims to Shorten Commutes from Brooklyn to Manhattan

© East River Skyway via New York Daily News

New York real estate executive Daniel Levy of CityRealty has unveiled a proposal to connect Brooklyn’s waterfront to with a $75 million “East River Skyway.” According to Levy, the high-speed could shorten commutes to just four minutes and move more than 5,000 people per hour, while relieving congestion on ferries, subways and bridges. “[The Skyway] would be a relatively inexpensive and quickly deployable solution,” said Levy. “It is essential to adapt New York City’s transportation system to serve residents in these booming areas.” Levy will present the project in an effort to harness support at the Brooklyn real estate summit on Tuesday.

What Happened to Manhattan’s Lowline Project?

Courtesy of James Ramsey and Dan Barasch

In 2011, the Tribeca-based design duo of James Ramsey and Dan Barasch proposed a radical project to transform an abandoned subterranean trolley terminal in Manhattan‘s Lower East Side into an underground park filled with natural light and vegetation, eventually proving their design with a full size mock-up of their design for light-capturing fiber-optic tubes. Since then, they haven’t had nearly the same level of publicity – but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still working. This article by The Architects’ Newspaper catches up with Ramsey and Barasch as they attempt to make their $50 million project a reality by 2018. Read the full article here.

Foster + Partners Unveils New Images of 425 Park Avenue

Courtesy of

Foster + Partners has released new images of 425 Park Avenue in New York, the project which turned heads in 2012 when videos of the four competing architects presenting their proposals were released to Youtube. The new images show a slightly altered design for the glazed entrance, where a mezzanine on either side replaces what was originally a double height space in the entire lobby. The new images also give a glimpse into the building’s interiors, where curtain glass walls make the most of spectacular views across Manhattan and Central Park. Read on after the break for all the images.

Tadao Ando Designs Luxury Residential Building in New York

Rendering of 152 Elizabeth Street, developed by Sumaida + Khurana. Image ©

Tadao Ando has unveiled designs of his latest project, a 7 story luxury residential project in Manhattan. The building at 152 Elizabeth Street is Ando’s first in New York, and includes his signature design features of simple cubic forms, polished in-situ concrete and curtain glass.

More on 152 Elizabeth Street after the break

“Lebbeus Woods – Architect” Returns to NYC

Unified Urban Field. Image Courtesy of Estate of Lebbeus Woods

This summer, the drawings, theories and works of architect Lebbeus Woods are headed to the city that Lebbeus considered home. After a five-month stay at SFMOMA, the exhibit “Lebbeus Woods – Architect” will be at the in SoHo, Manhattan until mid-June. The following story and overview of the exhibition, by Samuel Medina, originally appeared at as “Coming Home”.

It’s all too biblical an irony that Lebbeus Woods—architect of war, catastrophe, and apocalyptic doom—died as strong winds, rain, and waves barreled down on Manhattan, his home for some 40-odd years. Woods passed the morning after Hurricane Sandy flooded Lower Manhattan, almost as if the prophet had succumbed to one of his turbulent visions. But this apocryphal reading is just one way to view Woods’s work, which, as often as it was concerned with annihilation, always dared to build in the bleakest of circumstances.

Inside the Cool Offices of Manhattan’s Tech Companies

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With an emphasis on collaborative environments, relaxing atmospheres, and quirky branding, it’s always interesting to take a peek into the offices of tech companies, often found in the sprawling, multi-colored campuses of Silicon Valley. But how does this particular brand of interior design transfer to the more cramped spaces of a Manhattan office block? This video by Internet Week NY takes us behind the scenes at Tumblr, About.com and Fueled Collective to find out.

A Mini Marble Manhattan

Courtesy of David Zwirner Gallery

You’ve never seen Manhattan quite like this: Metropolis Magazine‘s Komal Sharma takes a look at “Little Manhattan“, a sculpture by Yutaka Sone which renders the famous island in 2.5 tons of solid marble. The power of the artwork lies in the play with scale: the initial impression of a huge marble block contrasts with the tiny, intricately detailed skyline forming a mere skin on top; the subsequent realization that this skin corresponds to the familiar vertical city brings you to a more complete understanding of ’s scale. You can read the full article here.

TED Talk: Manhattan’s Past, Present and Future

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When it comes to global cities, New York City may be one of the most prominent – but it is also relatively young. Just 400 years ago, Manhattan island was mostly covered in forests and marshes. In his talk at TEDx Long Island City, discusses the city’s radical changes in land use over the past four centuries, and begins to contemplate what the next four might look like. How can we take a city like and make it as efficient as the forest it replaced? In a bid to uncover the ideas that might make this possible, he introduces Manhatta 2409 – an online tool which maps/compares the historic and current land use of Manhattan and allows users to propose new uses. Learn more in the video above.

Columbia University School of Nursing / CO|FXFOWLE

© CO|FXFOWLE

FXFOWLE and CO Architects (CO|FXFOWLE) have teamed up to design a seven-story School of Nursing building for the Columbia University Medical Center campus in upper Manhattan. The result of an invited design competition, the design will provide 65% more space than the school’s current location and will be designed to achieve LEED Silver certification.

Heatherwick Tapped to Design $75 Million Icon for NYC

UK Pavilion for Shanghai World Expo 2010 / Heatherwick Studio. Image © Daniele Mattioli

Related Companies founder Stephen Ross has commissioned London designer and architect Thomas Heatherwick to design what could be, according to the Wall Street Journal, “one of the most expensive works of public art in the world.” Planned to be the centerpiece of Related’s Hudson Yards project in Manhattan’s West Side, the estimated $75 million artwork and its surrounding 4-acre public space aims to become “new icon for the city.”

Foster + Partners Designs Luxury Residential Tower in Manhattan

Courtesy of Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners have just revealed a new design for a 19-story luxury condominium building at 551 West 21st Street, on the western side of Manhattan. The design features a cast concrete frame surrounding windows with a warmly colored metal trim that cover the full 11-foot floor to ceiling height.

AD Classics: The Museum of Modern Art

View of the gallery complex from the Sculpture Garden. Image © Timothy Hursley

The entrance to the Museum of Modern Art is tucked beneath a demure facade of granite and glass in Midtown . Its clean, regular planes mark Yoshio Taniguchi’s 2004 addition to the MoMA’s sequence of facades, which he preserved as a record of its form. Taniguchi’s contribution sits beside the 1984 residential tower by Cesar Pelli and Associates, followed by Philip Goodwin and Edward Durell Stone’s original 1939 building, then Philip Johnson’s 1964 addition. Taniguchi was hired in 1997 to expand the Museum’s space and synthesize its disparate elements. His elegant, minimal solution presents a contemporary face for the MoMA while adhering to its Modernist roots.

Is NYC “Landmarking Away” Its Future?

Midtown West; Courtesy of Flickr User David Boeke, Licensed via Creative Commons

A recent study by the Real Estate Board of (REBNY) concluded that by preserving 27.7% of buildings in Manhattan, “the city is landmarking away its economic future.” REBNY is challenging the Landmarks Preservation Commission, arguing it has too much power when it comes to planning decisions, and that by making business so difficult for developers it is stifling the growth of the city.

Yet not three days before releasing this study, president of REBNY Steve Spinola said in an interview with WNYC that “if you ask my members, they will tell you [the twelve years of Mayor Bloomberg's tenure] has been a great period of time for them”. The conclusion of WNYC is that the past decade has actually been a period of increased growth for developers, rather than a period of stagnation.

It would be easy to echo the opinion of Simeon Bankoff, executive director of the Historic Districts Council, who believes the actions of REBNY come down to greed, even comparing its members to Gordon Gekko, the anti-hero of the film Wall Street. But is greed really what’s behind this attack on the Landmarks Preservation Commission? Find out after the break.

‘Pop-Up Hotel’ Winning Proposal / PINKCLOUD

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Designed by PINKCLOUD, their ‘Pop-Up Hotel’ proposal was recently selected as the winning entry in the 2013 Radical Innovation in Hospitality competition. Their concept focuses on the transformation of empty Class A office spaces into hospitality spaces through a simple setup. They intend to partner with various owner/leasing agencies around Midtown in Manhattan to identify buildings in need of revitalization. A uniquely urban experience, the Pop-Up hotel will feature a variety of amenities and rooms catering to a wide diversity of clientele. More images and architects’ description after the break.

One World Trade Center Will Soon Top Out at 1,776 Feet

After weather conditions refused to cooperate on Monday, the final two sections of Freedom Tower have been lifted to the summit of the One World Trade CenterConstruction of the gargantuan 758-ton, 408-foot spire – a joint Canadian-U.S. venture – began in December 2012, when 18 separate pieces were shipped to Manhattan from Canada and New JerseyThis final addition, including a steel beacon, means that the height of the building will soon rise from 1,368 feet to a more patriotic 1,776 feet once the segments are permanently installed within the next few weeks. However, it’s not yet certain that the building will officially be the tallest in the U.S.

Read more after the break…

Construction Begins on NYC’s First Prefab Steel and Concrete Residential Development

© GLUCK+

Prefabrication has long been heralded as a possible way to infill New York’s vacant sites; however, it has only recently become a solid practical solution rather than an experimental concept. Riding the crest of the wave of new housing is GLUCK+ (formerly Peter Gluck & Partners), in collaboration with developers Jeffrey Brown and Kimberly Frank. Together they have begun construction on one of ’s first prefabricated steel and concrete residential buildings.

Read more about this and New York’s recent wave of prefabricated buildings after the break…