Decoding Design

First designs for the High Line at the Rail Yards revealed

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The preliminary designs for the third segment of the High Line park in Manhattan were revealed Monday, showing not only design concepts, but how the park has transformed and revitalized a neighborhood.

On Monday, the Friends of the High Line revealed a first look at some of the potential designs for the third and final installation of New York City's High Line park.

The new section, called the High Line at the Rail Yards, was revealed at a community input meeting in Chelsea led by James Corner and Ric Scofidio of the High Line Design Team.

Though the designs are still in their first stages, the new images show a continuity between the first two sections that stretch between Gansevoort and West 30th Streets. The rail yards segment will "extend and evolve" the existing design, said the Friends of the High Line's blog, using much of the "peel-up" designs of the benches, planters and tables used in the first two segments.

However, a few key factors make this segment different from its predecessors. The Rail Yards is part of an upcoming development project that will turn the actual rail yards that surround the park into a mixed-use neighborhood, meaning that buildings will be going up around the new High Line for several years.

The Hudson Yards project will not only influence the design of the new segment, but its development also represents the way the park as a whole has changed and revitalized the neighborhoods of west Chelsea and the Meatpacking District.

The Hudson Yards will eventually be home to twelve million shiny new square feet of offices, apartments, shops, and galleries, and its design is being coordinated with the design and construction of the High Line at the Rail Yards. This means that the whole western section of the High Line Rail Yards will be fully developed.

At this moment, however, the High Line at the rail yards is still grown over with wildflowers and grasses that sprouted between the tracks when they were abandoned in the 1980s, and the preliminary designs show the eastern part of the new segment as simply a walkway through the natural growth-- perhaps a glimpse at what inspired the creators of the High Line to begin with.

Estimated to cost $90 million, the Friends of the High Line is currently fundraising (and has approximately $38 million already) in hopes that construction will begin as soon as later this year. If all goes according to plan, the group hopes to open the new segment of the park to the public in Spring of 2014.

Based on the images released, the new walkway will have a similar feel to the southern sections of the park-- it's the neighborhood underneath that will be transformed.

For more photos and information, click here.

[Friends of the High Line]
Images: Friend of the High Line

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Beth Carter

Contributing Editor

Beth Carter is a freelance journalist based in San Francisco. She has worked for Catalyst magazine, the New York Times Syndicate, BBC Travel and Wired. She holds degrees from the University of Oregon and New York University. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure