Woods Bagot’s Alternative Penn Station Solution Would Keep Madison Square Garden

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Invited by the Municipal Arts Society (MAS) and the Regional Plan Association (RPA), Woods Bagot has created an alternative design for the future of New York‘s  Penn Station which would allow Madison Square Garden to remain in its current location above the station’s entrance. The design, produced as part of MAS and RPA’s report into the future of the station, the design was unveiled yesterday at Penn 2023: Where will the Garden Go?, the first session of the Municipal Arts Society’s 2014 Summit for City, which discussed the possible options for the site at the end of Madison Square Garden’s current 10-year permit.

Though the report by MAS and RPA favors the idea of moving Madison Square Garden – identifying Farley Post Office’s Western Annex and the Morgan Postal Facility and Annex as potential new sites – it also says that “there needs to be a Plan B… In the event a deal between the state, city, railroads and Madison Square Garden does not get done in the next eight years, there needs to be a plan for improving Penn Station and the surrounding district with the Garden still in place.” This is where ’s designs come in.

Read on after the break for more on Woods Bagot’s proposal

Construction Begins on the Vast Platform for New York’s Hudson Yards

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The construction of Hudson Yards, the biggest private real estate development in the history of the United States and currently the largest development in New York City since the Rockefeller Center, is gaining momentum. The vast infrastructural project in the heart of the city is set to enclose an active rail yard with an expansive platform, paving the way for 28 acres (and 17 million square feet) of commercial and residential space. Housing over 100 commercial units, 5000 residences, 14 acres of open public space, an enormous school and luxury hotel all on top of a working train depot, the project will directly connect to a new subway station and meet with the High Line.

AD Classics: Pennsylvania Station / McKim, Mead & White

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’s original Pennsylvania Station was a monument to movement and an expression of American economic power. In 1902, the noted firm , Mead and White was selected by the President of the Pennsylvania Railroad to design its Manhattan terminal. Completed in 1910, the gigantic steel and stone building covered four city blocks until its demolition in 1963, when it ceded to economic strains hardly fifty years after opening. 

The Penn Station Proposals: Vanity Projects?

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In this article in the New York Observer, Stephen Jacob Smith discusses the future of Penn Station, now that Madison Square Garden’s permit has been extended by just 10 years. Smith thinks that the grand redesigns of the station itself are pure vanity – considering the poor organization of the current station and the competing interests of the stakeholders involved – and proposes that there are better improvements to be had in unseen infrastructure improvements rather than show-stopping architecture. Read the full article here.

Madison Square Garden Limited to 10 Year Permit

Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Competition Proposal for a New Penn Station

A landslide vote (47-1) by the City Council has limited the permit for to just 10 years. The decision comes after the property owner’s – MSG Company - 50 year permit expired earlier this year, sparking a heated debate on whether or not the city should deny the owners request to renew the permit in perpetuity and envision plans for a new Penn Station.

Penn Station, Re-Imagined

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UPDATED: This morning, four architectural firms, invited by the Municipal Art Society(MAS), displayed how they would transform ’s darkest & dingiest hub – Penn Station – into a space worthy of its site in the heart of the city.

New Yorkers have been up in arms about Penn Station ever since its Beaux-Arts predecessor, designed by McKim, Mead & White, was demolished in 1963. Its replacement is a dark, cramped station that lacks both the operational and security features it needs to sustain the hundreds of thousands of travelers who use it daily. As Michael Kimmelman put it in his inaugural piece as architecture editor for The New York Times: “To pass through Grand Central Terminal, one of New York’s exalted public spaces, is an ennobling experience, a gift. To commute via the bowels of Penn Station, just a few blocks away, is a humiliation.”

As we reported last month,’s (MSG) 50-year permit expires this year, and it will be either renewed without limit, or extended 10-15 years, by The New York City Council in the coming months. The problem, according to MAS, is that “MSG happens to sit on top of the busiest train station in North America [a.k.a, Penn Station] and constrains its ability to serve over half a million people every day. [...] 2013 presents New York City with a truly unique opportunity and together we need to seize this moment.”

And so MAS invited Diller, Sofidio, & Renfro; H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture; SHoP; Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill, to do just that. See their visions, after the break…

Four Architects Enlisted to Reimagine Penn Station

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In an effort to “unlock people’s imaginations” about Penn Station and Madison Square Garden, the Municipal Art Society (MAS) of New York has challenged Santiago CalatravaDiller Scofidio + Renfro, and to propose four new visions that exemplify the potential of the highly disregarded area. 

The challenge comes amidst a heated debate on whether or not the city should restrict Madison Square’s recently expired special permit to 10 years, rather than in perpetuity as the arena’s owners – the Dolan family – has requested. This would allow time for the city to “get it right” and come up with a viable solution for the arena and station that, as NYTimes critic Michael Kimmelman states, would not only “improve the safety and quality of life for millions of people but also benefit the economy”. Think Kings Cross in London. With a thoughtful mix of public and private investments, the crime-ridden station was transformed into a thriving cultural destination that benefited all parties. 

More after the break…