July 31, 2010
The moment you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived! Here is my final design for the High Line Eco-Transit Station project!
After weeks of work in the Parsons studios, a final presentation for guest critics on Thursday afternoon, and an open exhibit yesterday afternoon, I am finally finished with the Summer Studies in Constructed Environments program. This project is the culmination of the work and skills we have learned in our classes over the past five weeks; and while a superhuman amount of work was required to finish everything in time, I am very happy with the results.
So, let me tell you a little bit about my design:
My concept for the design was based on the theme of transition — transportation, for example, being an act of transition. Transportation involves not only a transition from one location to another, but, as is often the case in an urban setting such as New York City, a transition from one mode of transportation to another as well. Bicycle commuter know this all too well — transitioning from a traffic-fighting cyclist to a groomed Manhattan professional in the space of a phone booth is part of their daily routines. The station is designed to both embody and smooth that sense of transition for cyclists, as well as encourage positive interaction between pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, the High Line elevated park, and the surrounding neighborhood.
The exterior design physically links the spaces where these transitions occur, connecting the streets (bicycle travel arteries) with the High Line elevated park, a central pedestrian thoroughfare, in a sweeping array of arced columns that evoke movement and travel. The exterior was also inspired by my earlier material study project, which similarly featured a sense of movement and flow in a structure.
The positioning of the arced columns on the exterior of the building was derived from a plan to make the structure dialogue with the surrounding architecture and neighborhood, with focus being placed on the neighboring High Line park. Just south of the site is an elevated “viewing gallery,” accessible only from the High Line, that has a direct view of the site and the adjacent 10th Avenue.
I wanted my structure to both conceal and reveal certain parts of the activity in the interior to the people sitting in this gallery, in order to attract attention to it and cause people to walk over and explore the inside. As you can see in a view from that gallery, below, the structure only reveals small slivers of the interior to those spectators.
To reintroduce the theme of transition, however, one has to be in the act of transportation — riding, driving, or walking past the structure on 10th Avenue — in order to experience the chameleon-like qualities of the building that slowly reveals itself as you pass it by. When viewed from a directly perpendicular angle, the exterior columns disappear to reveal the interior activities and let in natural sunlight (below).
The design of the interior of the building continues the theme of transition. The exterior columns, in some cases, transition to become horizontal floor beams supporting the second floor gallery and cafe spaces. Also, the facades of the partition walls that describe the information booth, repair, and rental shops on the main level are derived from (and peel off from) the surfaces of the west wall. One of the exterior columns even morphs into a locking rail for short-term bike parking on the main level.
Of course, the design would not be complete without some method of connecting the building to the High Line park, so that visitors can enter and leave the site by any means necessary. For this I provided a grand exterior staircase that, literally, climbs the exterior of the building, providing a unique perspective on the structure as visitors climb or descend.
There were almost an innumerable amount of other considerations that went into the design as well, from program considerations (where to park 800 bicycles – on the basement level), to space restrictions, to vertical access requirements, traffic flows; the list goes on and on. A lot of the considerations were brought about purely from discussions with my Studio professor, T/A, and classmates, who were extremely helpful in finessing the final design. I definitely learned the value of critique and review from this experience.
In the end I was required to produce a 42″ x 80″ presentation board, along with several models of the design, to present to the critics as well. I highly encourage you, if interested, to click on the link below to see my final presentation board.
Here are some photos of my models (one site model in 1/16″ scale, and one detail model at 1/8″ scale):
And, finally, here are some examples of my draftings (more of which can be seen on the presentation board, above) of sections for the building:
So, as you can see, there was an extraordinary amount of work involved, but it made for one comprehensive presentation!
This post will mark my last about the SSCE program, however, I plan to continue writing during the school year about lighting topics, my projects, and other adventures in lighting design in New York City, so please check back in August and September for those updates!
For those of you reading this who were in any way involved with the SCCE program — my classmates, professors, T/A’s, or anyone else — thank you so much for a fantastic experience. I hope to work with you or see you again in the future.