2015 Honor Award

High Line, Section 3

Location: New York, New York

Landscape Architect:

James Corner Field Operations


New York City, Department of Parks and Recreation

Friends of the High Line

Project Team:

Diller Scofidio + Renfro: Architecture Partners: Elizabeth Diller, Ricardo Scofidio, Charles Renfro Lead Project

Designer: Matthew Johnson Project Team:Benjamin Smoot, Dustin Tobias, Trevor Lamphier, Brian Tabolt Piet Oudolf: Planting Design

Buro Happold: Structural / MEP Engineering / Life Safety Engineering Principals:Craig Schwitter, Neil Porto; Team: Alan Erickson,

David Koysman, Dennis Burton, Carl Keogh, Marc-Henri Gateau, Erika Yaroni, Evan Tusini, Stephanie Michella, Lindsey DuBosar,

Samantha Cohen, Elizabeth Zack, Iain Macfarlane, Stephen Curtis Robert Silman Associates: Structural Engineering/Historic Preservation

Joseph Tortorella, Ricardo Davila L’Observatoire International: Lighting Hervé Descottes, Jason Neches, Papon Kasettratat, Natalia

Priwin Pentagram Design, Inc.: Signage Paula Scher, Courtney Gooch, Rafael Medina Site Masters Inc.: Play Safety Consultant Teri

Hendy Northern Designs:Irrigation Michael Astram Roux Associates, Inc.: EnvironmentalConsulting Wendy Shen, Joseph Duminuco,

Denise Kmetzo Philip Habib & Associates:Civil & Traffic Engineering Philip Habib, Sue McCoy, Colleen Sheridan Craul Land Scientists,

Inc.: Soil Science Tim Craul MKJ Communications: Security Design Lou Ciccone, Bjorn Matz Dharam Lally & Smith Andrew Smith, Joe

Grandone JAM Consultant’s Inc.:Building Code Consultant, Expediting Robert Anderson, Jonellen Thompson Control Point Associates,

Inc.: Site Surveyor PaulJurkowski, Eneser Enerio Construction Team Sciame:Construction Manager, Landscape Design Liro:

Construction Manager, Site Preparation Subconsultants:BPDL, CAC, Concrete Industries One, Steven Dubner Landscaping, Egg, L&L

Painting, Sunny Border, Venture, FMB, Sawkill Lumber, Site Works, ATTA Inc., Landscape Structures, Studio dell’ Arte, Optical

Mechanics Inc. VGS


About the Project:

Preservation and innovation come together through the adaptive reuse of the existing structure into a new, compelling, one-of-a-kind recreational amenity and public promenade. Representing one-third of the High Line, the recently opened final section at the Rail Yards is one of the most iconic stretches of the High Line with expansive views of the Hudson River and the Midtown skyline. The High Line at the Rail Yards builds upon the identity and success of previous sections, yet finds new ways to respond to the radically different context of the future Hudson Yards development.

The northernmost terminus of the High Line, also known as High Line at the Rail Yards (or section 3), wraps around Hudson Rail Yards in midtown Manhattan from West 30th to West 34th Street, west of 10th avenue, with an expansive view of the Hudson River.

Inspired by the melancholic, “found” beauty of the High Line, where nature has reclaimed a once-vital piece of urban infrastructure, the design aims to re-fit this industrial conveyance into a post-industrial instrument of leisure.  By changing the rules of engagement between plant life and pedestrians, a strategy of “agri-tecture” combines organic and building materials into a blend of changing proportions that accommodates the wild, the cultivated, the intimate, and the social. In stark contrast to the speed of Hudson River Park, the singular linear experience of the new High Line landscape is marked by slowness, distraction and other-worldliness that preserves the strange, wild character of the High Line, yet doesn’t underestimate its intended use and popularity as a new public space.  This notion underpins the overall strategy – the invention of a new paving and planting system that allows for varying ratios of hard to soft surface that transition from high use areas (100% hard) to richly vegetated biotopes (100% soft), with a variety of experiential gradients in between.

Representing one-third of the entire High Line, the High Line at the Rail Yards is one of the most iconic stretches of the High Line with expansive views of the Hudson River and the Midtown skyline.   Here, the challenge was to continue to build upon the identity and success of the existing High Line, yet find a different way to respond to the radically new, 21st-century context of the future Hudson Yards development.  The design takes advantage of the east-west orientation to the river, respects the existing wild landscape and industrial aesthetic, and introduces the next iteration of design elements.  These include new varieties of peel-up benches, a series of Rail Track Walks and tree groves that encourage users to walk along and within the train tracks, a bridge over 11th Avenue with heightened views of the River,  a unique children’s play space that transforms the High Line structure itself into a series of sunken areas that  children can run between, climb over and play within, and at the Western Rail Yards, a temporary walkway built over the existing, self-seeded landscape with large-scale furniture at key locations with dramatic views of the Hudson River.  This latter section along the Western Rail Yards and 12th Avenue is perhaps the most authentically subtle design, where the “original” High Line landscape, with its self-sown grasses and flowers emerging from old tracks, wood ties and stone ballast, remains intact.

As an ambitious urban reclamation project, the High Line’s very essence is born out of the desire to preserve and recycle.  As in Sections 1 and 2, the High Line at the Rail Yards continues to support local and sustainably grown food at concession stands, and uses permeable materials (open joint paving, wood decking, gravel), energy efficient LED lighting, recycled materials (reclaimed wood, recycled steel, local or recycled aggregate for precast) and a high percentage of native plants to minimize maintenance and irrigation demands and provide ecological habitat.  High Line at the Rail Yards considers additional sustainable strategies and elements as well, including opportunities to collect and store water for irrigation, expanded opportunities for social interaction, the promotion of health and physical activity (play beams, rail track walk and seesaws) and expanded educational programming.