Designing New York: Reimagining Coasts, Housing, and Rail
No city looks like New York. As an amalgamation of different cultures, it is one of the most diverse in the world. New York also faces social and environmental challenges that range from the need for new housing and transportation demands to rising sea levels and storm surges. As the global pandemic has further underscored the importance of design in shaping public life, city officials and urban planners are exploring a range of approaches and models for urban development and renewed growth.
From Penn Station to Coney Island, New York is facing widespread change. Responding to the theme of cities and lifestyle trends, the following articles, projects, and editorials examine development in New York’s five boroughs as a response to coastal conditions, affordable housing, and integrated rail networks. Together they are a snapshot of the city as it seeks to better understand how design can inform and shape the way we live. In turn, they provide insight into how New York invests in new projects across private and public works.
The Daniel Patrick Moynihan Train Hall, named after the visionary United States senator who proposed the project in the 1990s, opened January 1 to New Yorkers and travelers from Long Island Rail Road, Amtrak, the subway of New York and the entire northeast region. Moynihan Train Hall expands the Pennsylvania Station complex with a 225,000 square foot rail hub in the famous James A. Farley Post Office building.
New York City’s new online climate scorecard confirms that New York City is not doing enough to meet its climate goals. Worse still, the goals are not up to the challenge facing citizens. A growing consensus among scientists says the world has only until the end of this decade to avoid catastrophic climate change. Here in New York, the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases come from buildings and driving. As an architect and urban designer, John Massengale shares what he believes the world is missing and some important changes the world can make for the good of future generations.
Little Island is a public park that is home to three new performance venues on the Hudson River. Designed as a haven for people and wildlife, it’s a green oasis, held above the water by sculptural planters, and located just steps across a walkway from Manhattan’s Lower West Side. Heatherwick Studio was initially asked to create a pavilion for a new pier in southwest Manhattan. Instead of designing a decorative object to sit on in Hudson River Park, the design team saw an opportunity to reimagine what a pier could be.
Connecting Harlem’s active 125th Street corridor and quieter 126th Street, The Smile is a mixed-use development that houses a nursing school at street level and residential apartments above. A third of these residential units contain affordable housing that reinforces and provides housing diversity in the neighborhood. East 126’s unique T-shaped footprint provides a diverse set of unit sizes and layout arrangements, while reinforcing the connecting relationship with neighboring buildings.
Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced plans for a $10 billion Coastal Resilience Project designed to protect Lower Manhattan from flooding. In an op-ed in New York Magazine, Mayor de Blasio outlined ambitious plans to alter the Financial District’s waterfront, building a major piece of infrastructure up to 500 feet into the East River. Part of the Lower Manhattan Climate Resilience Study and designed in collaboration with local climatologists and offices, the multi-billion dollar project was designed to protect Manhattan until the year 2100.
The New York City High Line is a three-phase project that has transformed the once disused elevated railroad tracks on Manhattan’s West Side into one of the most respected public parks in the world. With the opening of the first section in 2009, architectural photographer Iwan Baan documented the entire process. In turn, he showcased his work through a photographic journey highlighting the completed High Line.
When we think of the architecture of public housing in the United States, we often think of boxes: large brick buildings without much aesthetic character. But the implications of standardized fluorescent-lit skyscrapers can be far more than aesthetic for the people who live there. A new set of design standards from the New York City Public Design Commission (PDC)—in collaboration with The New York Federation of Fine Arts and the New York Chapter of the American Institute of Architects—hopes to turn a new page in the architecture of affordable housing.
The transportation hub is designed at street level as a free-standing structure located on an axis along the southern edge of the “Wedge of Light” plaza. As described in Daniel Libeskind’s master plan for the site, the Plaza is bounded by Fulton, Greenwich and Church streets to the north, west and east respectively and Tower 3 to the south. It connects the procession of green and urban spaces that stretch along Park Row, from City Hall Park to St. Paul’s Cemetery, WTC Memorial Gardens and Battery Park along the Hudson River .
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, as communities come together to clean up the devastation and utility companies work tirelessly to restore the infrastructure that keeps New York City running, planners and policymakers are debating next steps to make the city also resilient to natural disasters. as we once thought. The question explored by Irina Vinnitskaya is: which option or combination of options is most appropriate to protect New York City and its boroughs?
Sugar Hill is a new mixed-use development in Manhattan’s historic Sugar Hill neighborhood of Harlem that will feature affordable housing, early learning programs and a new cultural institution. Initiated by non-profit supportive housing developer Broadway Housing Communities (BHC), and driven by a tight budget as well as demanding site parameters, the concept challenges the traditional typology.
This article is part of the ArchDaily topics: Cities and Living Trends. Each month we explore a topic in depth through articles, interviews, news and projects. Learn more about our ArchDaily topics. As always, at ArchDaily, we welcome contributions from our readers; if you want to submit an article or a project, contact us.