NYC’s next great neighbourhood

by SUZANNE MIAO on Feb 16, 2012 in Architecture
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At Hudson Yards, Kohn Pedersen Fox is working to realise the dream of developers Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group to alter the city’s skyline and transform the city’s West Side.

Finding space for new development in a mature city is a challenge in itself – and even more so if the site is still in active use as a major railway hub, no less. Such is the case at Hudson Yards in New York City, where Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates is overseeing the transformation of 26 acres into a new centre of commerce, culture and community in the city’s West Side. 

The single largest piece of undeveloped property in Manhattan, Hudson Yards will accommodate more than 13 million square feet of commercial and residential space. A landmark development, the plan is to transform the landscape of Manhattan to attract millions of visitors each year.

“The site is home to active yards, which makes the project incredibly challenging,” says KPF principal James von Klemperer. “Hudson Yards is a lifeline of rail connections to New Jersey and the south. There have been various schemes put forward over the last 15 years, and the plan today calls for the building of platforms over the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) storage yards as we can’t stop the trains from running.”

The LIRR is a commuter rail system serving the length of Long Island, New York, and the busiest commuter railroad in North America, serving about 81.5 million passengers each year. Established in 1834 and having operated continuously since then, it is the oldest US railroad still operating under its original name and charter – and it’s there to stay, with the extension of the No. 7 subway line, scheduled to open in 2014, coming right to Hudson Yards’ front door.

The project will provide both public parks and cultural attractions. Private streets and 2,600 parking spaces will serve six million square feet of commercial space featuring large, flexible floor plates, column-free space, floor-to-ceiling glass and on-site co-generation capabilities. Sitting atop a five-storey retail complex, the commercial office towers will also offer on-site parks and plazas.

“We were originally involved in an old plan to use the site for an urban stadium,” says Klemperer, “but this would mean it would sit unused outside of events. This new mixed-use plan will see Hudson Yards in constant use at all times of day, every day.”

 Read the full story in the March 2012 issue of Perspective magazine!