Karrie Jacobs


November 19, 2007

Hudson Yards Redux

Hudson Yards by Steven Holl

The competing plans for the Hudson Yards site on the far west side of Manhattan have just been released and the prize for the prettiest rendering goes to Steven Holl Architects for the Extell Development Company.

I haven’t had time to really study the plans, which are on display across from Grand Central, at 43rd and Vanderbilt. But the thing I’ll really be paying attention to is not the architectural form of the big towers, but how much consideration the teams have given to the way this brand new district will feel at street level. Some of the schemes, notably the one by Helmut Jahn and Peter Walker, seem to echo the old World Trade Center with a big, windy plaza at the center. The eclectic team led by SOM may have given most thought to the pedestrian experience, with its call for a continuation of Manhattan’s grid through the project, and shops and galleries along the High Line, but I’m also intrigued by the suspended park at the center of Holl’s design. The design that I’m least pleased with is the one by KPF, Robert A.M. Stern and Arquitectonica. The problem is the client, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. I’d almost rather have a football stadium than a whole Manhattan district dedicated to the greater glory of Fox News.

See: Hudson Yards circa 1999.

More later.