Simulation of the Lowline subterranean park.
Manhattan is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Is no wonder why designer James Ramsey has in plan an ambitious urban project that supposes to transform an historic trolley terminal, situated just below Delancey Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, in an underground park.
Lower East Side is one of the oldest area in the U.S., which has been home to generations of immigrants for centuries. The area is characterized by diversity, culture, creativity and innovation. The one-acre former Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal, situated below the area, was opened in 1908 and till 1945 had served the trolley passengers of New York City. In 1948 the trolley service was discontinued, because the automobile, bus, and subway were assuming superior roles in New York City public transportation.
The idea of adding a unique underground green space to New York came to architect James Ramsey in 2009 when he was studying the abandoned trolley terminal to install solar technology in the site, enabling plants and trees to grow. Together with his friend Dan Barasch, who was separately exploring a project to install underground art in the New York City subway system, James agrees to explore the idea of an “underground park” in earnest.
In 2011 the two founders released the Lowline concept to the public that gained an instant popularity and support. This encouraged James and Dan to make another step and at the beginning of 2012 they launched a Kickstarter campaign that turned out to be a real success. Over $155,000 were donated by 3,300 supporters from all over the world.
The underground park would benefit by natural light thanks to an innovative solar technology that involves the creation of a “remote skylight”. Remote Skylights are optical systems able to transport natural sunlight to areas that would otherwise be dark utilizing an arrangement of parabolic reflectors and fiber optics.
Lowline is a very promising project that has great chances to become a cultural attraction in one of the world’s most dense and exciting urban environments. The work are planned to be finished in 2018.
However, Manhattan is not at the first park built through urban repurposing. The High Line park is built on a 1.45-mile (2.33 km) section of the elevated former New York Central Raiload spur and is extremely appreciated.
In a densely populated urban place urban repurposing seems to be the best solution for an extra green space. What do you think about having an underground park in your town?
The Williamsburg Bridge Trolley Terminal in its actual state. Photo source: en.wikipedia.org
How Lowline will look like.
Watch also the Kickstarter campaign video.
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