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).
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.