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The Hudson Yards Project

At present, work is just beginning on another major urban design project involving the New York City Planning Department and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on the public side, two major private development organizations, Related Companies and Oxford Property Group, with the design done by the architectural and urban design firm Kohn Pedersen Fox.

The development will cover the area inside the broken line shown in Figure 10-1. If the present plan is fully realized the 28-acre site will contain a total of about 17 million square feet of floor space which will include 5,000 residential units as well as large amounts of office retailing and hotel space.3 The site, as planned, will be about half open space. The other side of that is that it will be built very high, with some structures of 70 or more stories. This combination of a high overall density, great height, and copious open space is very reminiscent of Corbusier's concept of "the tower in the park" noted later in this chapter. To enhance the site's marketability a spur has

The Hudson Yards site is the area inside the dashed line

FIGURE 10-1 The Hudson Yards site is the area inside the dashed line. The distance from 30 th Street to 34th Street is approximately 1,000 feet and from Route 9W to 10 th Avenue it is approximately 1,600 feet. The railroad tracks go underground at 10th Avenue and terminate at Pennsylvania Station located to the east between 7th and 8th Avenues. The crucial design question was how to deal with the tracks and the solution was the platform noted in the text.

been extended to it to connect with the existing New York City subway system. Otherwise, the half-mile or so walking distance to the subway would have been a major competitive disadvantage in a city where traffic is congested and parking a serious problem.

The basic physical problem with the site is shown in Figure 10-1. The tracks sketched in on the map lead to Pennsylvania Station located between 7th and 8th Avenues to the east and cannot be blocked. The design solution is to put much of the development above grade on a platform that will weigh an estimated 37,000 tons and be supported on 250 caissons that go down to bedrock. Construction was carried out so as not to interfere with the operation of the trains.

The need for a unified urban design process is evident. The platform, built on air rights leased long term by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), is common infrastructure for the entire project. The provision of other infrastructure for the project, always a complex matter in a densely developed urban area, requires extensive cooperation between city authorities and the project developers. So, too, did the extension of the city subway system to the site. The overall design of the project—the location of

The rail lines going underneath the platform and structures under construction atop the platform. The view is to the east with the Hudson River behind the photographer.

buildings, the allocation of open space, and the coordination of the mix of uses to be mutually reinforcing—all necessitated a coordinated approach.

 
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