New York, USA
Designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro in collaboration with James Corner Field Operations (Project Lead) and Piet Oudolf, The High Line is a 1.5–mile long public park built on an abandoned elevated railroad stretching from the Meatpacking District to the Hudson Rail Yards in Manhattan.
Inspired by the melancholic, unruly beauty of this postindustrial ruin, where nature has reclaimed a once vital piece of urban infrastructure, the new park interprets its inheritance. It translates the biodiversity that took root after it fell into ruin in a string of site–specific urban micro-climates along the stretch of railway that include sunny, shady, wet, dry, windy, and sheltered spaces.
Through a strategy of agri–tecture—part agriculture, part architecture—the High Line surface is digitized into discrete units of paving and planting which are assembled along the 1.5 miles into a variety of gradients from 100% paving to 100% soft, richly vegetated biotopes. The paving system consists of individual pre–cast concrete planks with open joints to encourage emergent growth like wild grass through cracks in the sidewalk. The long paving units have tapered ends that comb into planting beds creating a textured, “pathless” landscape where the public can meander in unscripted ways. The design addresses a multitude of civic issues: reclamation of unclaimed public space, adaptive reuse of outmoded infrastructure, and preservation as a strategy for sustainability. The park accommodates the wild, the cultivated, the intimate, and the social.
The High Line opened to the public in sections, starting in 2009, with phased openings in 2011, 2014, and 2019. From New York City’s investment of $115 million USD, the High Line has stimulated over $5 billion USD in urban development and created 12,000 new jobs. Initially imagined as a singular, idiosyncratic, local solution, last year the High Line drew 8 million visitors and has “gone viral” as a global development model: over one hundred cities worldwide have been inspired to transform their obsolete urban infrastructure into public parks.
|DESIGN||Diller Scofidio + Renfro, James Corner Field Operations (Project Lead) and Piet Oudolf|
|PARTNERS||Elizabeth Diller,Charles Renfro,and Benjamin Gilmartin|
|PROJECT DIRECTOR||Matthew Johnson|
|PROJECT ARCHITECTS|| Tobias Hegemann,Miles Nelligan,Ben Smoot,|
and Trevor Lamphier
|DESIGN TEAM|| Chiara Baccarini,Robert Condon,Hayley Eber,|
Gaspar Libedinsky,Jeremy Linzee,David Newton,
Dan Sakai,Don Shillingburg,Flavio Stigliano,
Brian Tabolt,Dustin Tobias,and Alex Knezo
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Founded in 1981, Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) is a design studio whose practice spans the fields of architecture, urban design, installation art, multi-media performance, digital media, and print. With a focus on cultural and civic projects, DS+R’s work addresses the changing role of institutions and the future of cities. The studio is based in New York and is comprised of over 100 architects, designers, artists and researchers, led by four partners—Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro and Benjamin Gilmartin. DS+R’s cross genre work has been distinguished with TIME’s “100 Most Influential People” list and the first grant awarded in the field of architecture from the MacArthur Foundation, which identified Diller and Scofidio as, “architects who have created an alternative form of architectural practice that unites design, performance, and electronic media with cultural and architectural theory and criticism. Their work explores how space functions in our culture and illustrates that architecture, when understood as the physical manifestation of social relationships, is everywhere, not just in buildings.”