Image credits: David L. Paterson
For the renewal of the New York High Line, an international design competition was launched in 2003, leading to an exhibition of 720 proposals at Grand Central Terminal. The services of landscape architects James Corner Field Operations and architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro were retained for the construction, along with specialists in engineering, horticulture, security, maintenance, and public art. Groundbreaking took place in April 2006 with the lifting of the first rail. Over the next 8 years, work was pursued on the various sections of the park:
1. Gansevoort Street to West 20th Street
2. West 20th Street to West 30th Street
3. Rail Yards
The variety of native plant species integrated into the park’s landscape was inspired by the range that grew up naturally in the urban wilderness created by 25 years of abandonment. Hardy and sustainable, these trees, shrubs, perennials, and grasses produce texture and colour variation, as well as diversity in bloom times over a long season (late January to mid-November).
The same level of attention was afforded the question of community involvement, which has been encouraged from the beginning. In 2009, High Line Art was founded to coordinate site-specific commissions, performances, and billboard interventions.
Along with the practical work of cleaning, preparing, and securing each part of the structure during construction, the High Line has become a model for the productive dialogue that can occur between landscape, history, art, architecture, and design in an urban neighbourhood – not just at the completion of a project, but throughout the entire process.
NEW YORK, USA
When I am asked what I believe in, I say that I believe in architecture. Architecture is the mother of the arts. I like to believe that architecture connects the present with the past and the tangible with the intangible.
By 1896, over 250 members of the religious community had been buried in the crypt of the Motherhouse, and it was full. The bodies of nuns who died in the winter were kept inside the windmill until the ground thawed. Finally, a small plot of land was consecrated to be a cemetery. It is in an idyllic rose garden on the hillside that dominates the island. Even at that, limited space required that the graves contain at least two bodies, attested to by the names on the white marble tombstones.
Some mystery is associated with this same hill on the west side of the island. It is oval-shaped and has a steep slope, rising about 100 feet above the water level of the lake. Historians once suggested that the hill might be more than the work of a former ice age. That humans could have contributed to its formation is supported by its ressemblence to similar, albeit more diminutive, mounds which have served as burial grounds. The idea that the hillock could have been the work of a lost people was borne out during an excavation in 1854 that recovered 18 skulls within approximately 18 square feet, along with many other bones and weapons.
Photo credit: Gilles Douaire QUÉBEC, CANADA
The author is an artist, writer, and instructional designer with an overactive imagination and too little time. Ceci en est un exemple...
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