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Sunset over The High Line

Highline chairs

The newly opened High Line park is part of the return-to-nature going in New York with parks, green markets and cloth bags everywhere.

Architecture firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro (the only architects to ever win a MacArthur “genius” Award) and landscape architects James Corner Field Operations designed a heavily planted and interesting promenade. Aside from some benches and a few double-wide wooden recliners, there isn’t much sit and hang space. It’s more of a stroll and view — and what a view.

Highline 4- jersey viewLooking West:

Who knew New Jersey could look so good.

Highline view east

Looking East:

I love the idea of being just a few stories above the city. Close enough to see, smell and hear it all but in a removed, tranquil spot.

Quick History:

The project took 10 years: two area residents formed the Friends of the High Line in 1999. In June Section 1 opened from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to 2oth Street in Chelsea, between 10th and 11th avenues.

Highline looking northThe design cleverly incorporated the existing railroad tracks along with glass walls at each stairwell and a sort of pre-rusted steel bordering the beds.

Native Plantings:

The High Line’s plantings seem to invade the strips of pavement as if they have taken back the landscape over time. The choice of plants was inspired by what grew on these elevated rail tracks during the 25 years they sat unused.

Highline standard benchIncorporating the Surroundings:

One of the cooler spots on Section 1 is where The Standard Hotel stradles The High Line. Polshek Partnership Architects designed the concrete-and-glass hotel, which at 265-feet, towers over most of its low-slung Meatpacking District neighbors (including across-the-street neighbor, Hogs & Heifers,a stronghold from the areas grittier days). But the hotel’s hefty, Le Corbusier-like tower-on-stilts above The High Line is entirely different  below it. The street-level facade of the hotel’s new restaurant was appropriately scaled to the neighborhood.

standardmpHere’s an ariel view of the hotel with The High Line running through it.

The Design

For more, check out a slideshow of the design and construction of the first phase of The High Line.

More

The High Line is booked with a ton of events throughout the next two years. Here are two interesting design oriented lectures coming up.

July 15 Lecture by the Design Team, James Corner (James Corner Field Operations) and Ric Scofidio and Liz Diller (Diller Scofidio + Renfro)

July 19  Walking Tour by Architectural Historian, Matt Postel.

Maybe I’ll see you there.

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