The capacity of New York to keep creating new public open space is inspiring. The last example is the Hudson Yards project which is using air space over a working railway yard with 30 active train tracks for the constructed of the largest private real estate development in the history of the United States. Covering 11.5 ha the development is being carried out on a deck over a working rail yard, three rail tunnels and the new Gateway Tunnel.
The site will incorporate more than 2 million square metres of commercial and residential space that includes approximately 4,000 residences, office towers, more than new 100 shops and a collection of restaurants. The urban development will include The Shed arts venue, 5.6 ha of public open space, a public school and a 200 room luxury hotel. The Hudson Yards web site provides extensive facts and figures together with some striking images and animation.
The deck and buildings are supported by 300 caissons about 1.5m in diameter and 7m to 26m long and drilled between existing railway tracks down to bedrock. Throughout construction of the caissons and deck the trains have remained operational, and the new No. 7 Subway extension opened at Hudson Yards in 2015.
Hudson Yards is the result of an impressive collaboration between planners, architects, engineers, designers, public servants, business leaders, fashion icons, renowned chefs and other prominent figures, working together with New York’s development and transportation authorities.
Approaching the Hudson Yards site from the south I walked towards the newly completed high rise building located on the southern edge of the development but path then began to curve to the left and my view gradually took a right angle bend until I was oriented towards the Hudson River with the railway yards on the right visible from the elevated High Line. Upon reaching the western edge of the railway yards the High Line takes a right angle turn to provide views to the Hudson River on one side and views across the railway yards to the construction taking place on the first stage of the Hudson Yards project. However, this view will change completely as the second stage of the development is completed. Referred to as the Western Yard this half of the development will comprised a number of high rise buildings set within landscaped open space on a deck over the railway yards. The High Line loop around the edge of the Western Yard and adjoin a series of high rise buildings with landscaped open spaces between them that will connect with the central space of the Hudson Yards.
Arriving at the Hudson Yards project by the Metro provided a totally different experience. After leaving the subway station I walked in to a domed space adorned by a spectacular art work of ceramic tiles. Daylight increasingly filled the space as the escalator carried me to the urban plaza at street level. Walking out in to the plaza I was immediately confronted by high rise buildings under construction.
Despite density on plan the design of open spaces between buildings avoids the urban canyon effect that often occurs in other parts of Manhattan. Views between the buildings extend towards the Hudson River to the west, along the High Line to the south and the Hudson Park and Boulevard to the north.