Exhibit, Speakers Detail the Grand Design of Hudson Yards
BY SCOTT STIFFLER | “This is going to be the Gold Coast for the city,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a December 4, 2012 public unveiling of the Hudson Yards development — where he also dubbed it “Manhattan’s final frontier” (and has since called it New York City’s “Next Great Neighborhood”).
Such grand and confident predictions, in this case at least, are hardly the stuff of hyperbole. When complete, the 26-acre site will accommodate over 13 million square feet — including more than 6 million square feet of commercial space, 750,000 square feet of destination retail space, cinemas, specialty restaurants, markets and bars, with 14 acres of new open spaces and parks. It will also be home to approximately 5,000 residences, a new school and a luxury hotel. The 1.7 million square foot South Tower (currently under construction, slated to open in 2015) will be the world headquarters of Coach, Inc.
If those raw numbers seem difficult to fathom, imagine being tasked with the challenge of coming up with a plan of action to take Hudson Yards from a hole in the ground to a gleaming forest of towering structures. Others have, of course — and now they’re pulling the curtain back. “Design(in) The New Heart of New York” is a two-month exhibit revealing the art behind the architecture.
An eight-week speaker series will complement the exhibit, offering visitors the chance to hear directly from (and interact with) architects, designers, civic leaders, developers and city partners. Included in the speaker series:
On May 16, prominent architectural writer Joseph Giovannini and Bill Pedersen, founding design partner of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), will discuss the evolution of the urban, high-rise commercial office building (at Hudson Yards and around the world). On May 30, David Childs, FAIA, Consulting Design Partner at Skidmore Owings & Merrill, talks about the complexities of designing a mixed-use building in a mixed-use development.
On June 11, Holly Leicht, Executive Director of New Yorkers for Parks, joins Matthew Johnson, Senior Associate at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Lisa Switkin, Associate Partner at James Corner Field Operations, Peter Mullan, Vice President for Planning & Design at Friends of the High Line and Matthew Urbanski, Principal at Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates for a discussion about the evolution of parks on Manhattan’s west side (with a focus on the creation of the High Line and Hudson River Park). The lecture series concludes on June 25, when Elizabeth Diller, Principal at Diller Scofidio + Renfro, joins David Rockwell, President of the Rockwell Group, to discuss the conceptual and technical development of the 72-story Hudson Yards residential tower.
The exhibit, which runs from May 1 through June 30 at the American Institute of Architects, New York Center for Architecture (536 LaGuardia Place, btw. Bleecker St. & W. 3rd St.), will feature never-before-seen architecture and design elements. To commemorate the opening of the exhibit, Open House New York will host two guided tours of the exhibit on Saturday, May 4. The first 5,000 visitors to the exhibit (and other Hudson Yards AIA events) will receive a “Build our Own Hudson Yards” postcard set designed by world-renowned paper engineer Keisuke Saka. For more information, visit hudsonyardsnewyork.com, aiany.org and nycdesign.com.